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NAVAL 

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THESIS 


FROM A GUERRILLA FORCE TO A STATE MILITARY: AN 
ASSESSMENT OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SUDAN 

PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY (SPLA) FROM 2006-2010 


By 


Africano Mande Gedima 


December 2011 

Thesis Advisor: 

Letitia Lawson 

Second Reader: 

Eugene M. Mensch 


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1. Reference: Gedima, Africano Mande. From a Guerrilla Force to a State Military: An 
Assessment of the Transformation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) from 2006- 
2010. Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School, December 2011. UNCLASSIFIED, 
Distribution authorized to DoD Components only; Foreign Government Information; 
December 14, 2011. Other requests for this document must be referred to the Sudan Peoples’ 
Liberation Army Directorate of Military Research. 

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From a Guerrilla Force to a State Military: An Assessment of the Transformation of 
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6. AUTHOR(S) Africano Mande Gedima 

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13. ABSTRACT (maximum 200 words) 

Countries have been transforming their militaries with some of them involved in the transformation of formerly guerrilla militaries 
to state militaries. Since 2006, an intact guerrilla armed force in South Sudan has been transforming itself into a state military. 
Measured against four transformation areas during assessment in order to establish any transformation effect as of 2010, the 
research reveals that compared to 2005, the area of operational effectiveness progressed further than the areas of force structure, 
training and civil-military relations because the SPLA’s self-transformation efforts which have been driven by security threats were 
more dominant than the donor supported transformation efforts which were SSR-driven. 

The SSR-driven efforts simply laid down frameworks for civil-military relations at the strategic level, but these 
frameworks have not been translated to changes in organization, process and personnel. The overall pace of SSR-driven 
transformation has also been affected by the divergence and contention between the SPLA’s and donor priorities, in which the 
SPLA priorities were much more dominant. 

The find further reveals that the transformation approach undertaken by the SPLA has not been consistent with the 
standard definition of military “transformation” which involves changes in doctrine, organization and processes. The SPLA’s 
transformation process simply involved rearmament, therefore not sufficient to warrant conclusion that the SPLA has transformed. 

14. SUBJECT TERMS Transformation, Security Sector Reform, Guerrilla armed force, Post- 
Conflict, Civil-Military Relations, Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Rearmament, Doctrine, 
Organization, processes, SPLA, South Sudan. 

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79 

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Information C e nt e r, 8725 John J. Kingman Rd., STE 09 44 , Ft. B e lvoir, VA 22060 - 6218. 
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FROM A GUERRILLA FORCE TO A STATE MILITARY: AN ASSESSMENT 
OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SUDAN PEOPLE’S LIBERATION 

ARMY (SPLA) FROM 2006-2010 


Africano Mande Gedima 

Lieutenant Colonel, Sudan People’s Liberation Army, Anny 
B.A., United States International University, Africa, 1999 


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the 
requirements for the degree of 


MASTER OF ARTS IN SECURITY STUDIES 
(DEFENSE DECISION MAKING AND PLANNING) 


from the 


NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL 
December 2011 


Author: Africano Mande Gedima 


Approved by: Letitia Lawson, PhD 

Thesis Advisor 


Eugene M. Mensch II, M.A. 
Second Reader 


Daniel Moran, PhD 

Chair, Department of National Security Affairs 






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IV 



ABSTRACT 


Countries have been transforming their militaries with some of them involved in the 
transformation of formerly guerrilla militaries to state militaries. Since 2006, an intact 
guerrilla anned force in South Sudan has been transforming itself into a state military. 
Measured against four transformation areas during assessment, in order to establish any 
transfonnation effect as of 2010, the research reveals that compared to 2005, the area of 
operational effectiveness progressed further than the areas of force structure, training and 
civil-military relations because the SPLA’s self-transfonnation efforts, which have been 
driven by security threats, were more dominant than the donor supported transformation 
efforts which were SSR-driven. 

The SSR-driven efforts simply laid down frameworks for civil-military relations at the 
strategic level, but these frameworks have not been translated to changes in organization, 
process and personnel. The overall pace of SSR-driven transformation has also been 
affected by the divergence and contention between the SPLA’s and donor priorities, in 
which the SPLA priorities were much more dominant. 

The find further reveals that the transfonnation approach undertaken by the SPLA has not 
been consistent with the standard definition of military “transformation” which involves 
changes in doctrine, organization and processes. The SPLA’s transfonnation process 
simply involved reannament, therefore not sufficient to warrant conclusion that the SPLA 
has transfonned. 


v 



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vi 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 


I. INTRODUCTION.1 

A. INTRODUCTION.1 

II. THE STATUS OF SPLA IN 2005 PRIOR TO THE TRANSFORMATION 

PROCESS.11 

A. INTRODUCTION.11 

B. FORCE STRUCTURE.12 

C. TRAINING.15 

D. CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS.18 

E. OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS.19 

F. CONCLUSION.20 

III. FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS ON THE EFFECTS OF THE 

TRANSFORMATION PROCESS ON THE SPLA BY 2010.21 

A. INTRODUCTION.21 

B. FORCE STRUCTURE.21 

C. TRAINING.31 

D. CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS.36 

E. OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS.42 

F. CONCLUSION.44 

IV. COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION.45 

A. COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS.45 

B. CONCLUSION.48 

C. RECOMMENDATIONS.51 

LIST OF REFERENCES.55 

INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST.63 


vii 

























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LIST OF FIGURES 


Figure 1. Distribution of Respondents According to Characteristics.9 

Figure 2. SPLA GHQs Command and Staff Organizational Structure and 

Composition from Organizational Structure of the SPLA GHQs of 2006.23 

Figure 3. Composition of SPLA Infantry Division and Support Units after Data 

Extracted from Organizational Structure of the SPLA Infantry Division.24 

Figure 4. Force Size by Division, After Data Collected from the SPLA Parade List 

of 2010.25 

Figure 5. Rank Distribution in the Framework and the Current 4 th Infantry Division....27 

Figure 6. Comparing the Number of SPLA Officers in 2006 with that of 2010, after 

Data Extracted from the SPLA Total Parades of 2006 and 2010.27 

Figure 7. Government of South Sudan Annual Approved Budget for the SPLA (U.S. 

$).29 

Figure 8. Distribution of SPLA 2010 Budget after Data Collected from the Budget 

at a Glance: Approved Budget of 2010.30 

Figure 9. SPLA Salary in Relation to Operating and Capital Expenditures after Data 

Collected from the Approved Budget of 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010...31 
Figure 10. The Strategic Thought Process after Extract from the Interim Constitution, 

and SPLA Policy and Strategic Documents.39 


IX 











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x 



LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS 


COGS 

Chief of General Staff 

CPA 

Comprehensive Peace Agreement 

D/COGS 

Deputy Chief of General Staff 

DDR 

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission 

DFID 

Department for Foreign and International Development 

GHQS 

General Headquarters 

GOSS 

Government of Southern Sudan 

IHL 

International Humanitarian Laws 

JIUs 

Joint Integrated Units 

KIA 

Killed in Action 

MANPADS 

Man-Portable Air- Defense System 

METL 

Mission Essential Task List 

MIA 

Missing in Action 

MOD 

Ministry of Defense 

MOOTW 

Military Operations Other Than War 

MTR 

Military Technical Revolution 

NCO 

Non Commissioned Officer 

OAGs 

Other Armed Groups 

OECD/DAC 

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/Development 

Assistance Committee 

OVIs 

Objectively Verifiable Indicators 

PME 

Professional Military Education 

PMO 

Political and Moral Orientation 

PRA/M 

Patriotic Revolutionary Army/Movement 

RMA 

Revolution in Military Affairs 

SAF 

Sudan Armed Forces 

SPLA 

Sudan People’s Liberation Army 

SPLM 

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement 


XI 



SSDDT Security Sector Development and Defense Transfonnation 

SSDF South Sudan Defense Force 

SSLA Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly 

SSR Security Sector Reform 

TADT Training Advisory and Development Team 

UK United Kingdom 

UN United Nations 

USA United States of America 

WIA Wounded in Action 


xii 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 


This thesis has not been a walkover because of the intricacies of the 
transformation process in a unique scenario such as that involving the SPLA. My 
advisors exerted all the efforts and energy to keep me on an academic standard and from 
swerving. At this point I think, I can afford to say thank you so much Professor Letitia 
Lawson and Col. Eugene M. Mensch, USA (ret.) for your guidance, support and critical 
supervision of this thesis. 

Many thanks to all my Professors, the entire staff of NPS, and especially the staff 
of the International Office for their support. Thanks to all my NPS colleagues for their 
warmth and support at a time when I was caught up between academics and the final 
struggles for the independence of my country. Special thanks go to my command at the 
SPLA GHQs for their support. Above all, special thanks to my family (My wife, children, 
etc) for their support and patience. 



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xiv 



I. INTRODUCTION 


A. INTRODUCTION 


Many militaries in the world are engaged in self-transformation as an important 
means of improving military concepts, efficiency, and effectiveness in the face of 
changing threats and resources. 1 Developed countries are engaged in a revolution in 
military affairs (RMA), as inspired by the former Soviet Union’s concept of military 
technical revolution (MTR), but adding doctrinal and organization elements to 
technological factors in military transformation. 2 Developing countries meanwhile are 
engaged in transformation based on security sector reform (SSR), which emphasizes the 
management and governance of the military (along with other security institutions) under 
civilian authority. 3 Transformation is thus closely associated with democratization and 
sometimes involves building a new military from scratch in post-conflict situations such 
as in Liberia and Croatia. 4 

Unlike internally driven RMA in developed countries, transformation in the 
developing countries is often sponsored by external donors. Donor-sponsored SSR 
undertook to reform the Sierra Leone army as part of post-conflict recovery, to create 
new armed forces of Liberia from scratch, and to absorb numerous guerrilla armies into 


1 Andrew Ross, Michele Flournoy, Cindy Williams and David Mosher, “What do we Mean by 
‘Transformation’? An Exchange - Defense Policy, United States,” Naval War College Review, Vol. LV, No. 1, 
(Winter 2002): 27-30. 

2 Elinor Sloan, Militaiy Transformation and Modern Warfare: A Reference Handbook (Westport, 
Connecticut: Praeger Publisher, 2008), 1-2. 

3 Alan Bryden, Boubacar N’Diaye and Funmi Olonisakin, ‘Understanding the Challenges of Security Sector 
Governance in West Africa’ in Challenges of Security Sector Governance in West Africa, ed. Alan Bryden, 
Boubacar N’Diaye and Funmi Olonisakin (Geneva: Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, 2008), 1. 

4 Thomas C. Bruneau and Fiorina C. Matei, “Towards a New Conceptualization of Democratization and 
Civil-Military Relations” in Democratization, 15, No. 5, December 2008, 913; Timothy Edmunds, Security Sector 
Reform in Transforming Societies: Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 
2007), 16-22; Mark Malan, Security Sector Reform in Liberia: Mixed results from humble beginnings, (Carlisle: 
Strategic Studies Institute, 2008), 67-70; Fayemi Koyode, Governing Insecurity in Post-conflict States: The Case 
of Sierra Leone and Liberia (Geneva: Center for the Democratization of the Aimed Forces, 2004); Peter Albrecht 
and Paul Jackson, Security System Transformation in Sierra Leone, 1997-2007 (Birmingham, UK: GFN-SSR, 
2009), 200-208. 


1 



the national armed forces, while simultaneously subordinating the force to democratic, 
civilian control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Sudan, the Comprehensive 
Peace Agreement of 2005 left the guerrilla Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) 
intact, with responsibility for safeguarding security in the territory designated as South 
Sudan for a period of six years, after which the population will vote on secession. 5 In 
these circumstances, the SPLA was left to transform itself from a guerrilla anny into a 
national armed force, with donor assistance. It thus straddles the line between RMA and 
donor-sponsored SSR. 

In early 2006 the SPLA and South Sudan Ministry of SPLA Affairs launched a 
program for this self-transformation into a “professional and operational effective armed 
force” to match the new socioeconomic, political, and security realities and increase 
professionalism in the SPLA which was considered inadequate. 6 Four main 
transfonnation areas were earmarked by the SPLA leadership: force structures; training 
of SPLA soldiers and officers; realignment of SPLA roles and functions with the interim 
constitution of South Sudan; and increasing the SPLA’s lethality through rearmament. 

The four transfonnation objectives were defined as follows. Reorganization 
involves defining, across the levels of the SPLA, force structure, size and accountability. 
Training entails enhancing discipline, morale and agility; developing a professional 
military-education (PME) system; and establishing a training-management-cycle system. 
Alignment of roles and functions with the interim constitution of South Sudan involves 
enhancing civil-military relations. Increased lethality entails improving firepower 
through armament and improving effectiveness and rapidity of response. Transformation 
thus involves increasing the three interdependent components of fighting power 
(material, moral, and doctrinal), changing organizational structures, modus operandi, 
resource management, and the discipline of the soldiers in order to transform into a 


5 IGAD Secretariat, The Security Arrangement Protocol: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement 
between the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army 
('Nairobi: CPA Secretariat, 2005), 87. 

6 SPLA GHQs, Report of the Senior Command and Staff Meeting, (Juba: SPLA GHQs, 2006); SPLA 
GHQs, SPLA White Paper on Defense, (Juba: published by Committee of the SPLA White Paper on 
Defense, 2008), 19. 


2 



professional, accountable, affordable, and combat-effective force. The overall goal was a 
more professional SPLA that sticks to its roles and functions as defined by the 
constitution, Defense Act, and defense policies; a more accountable SPLA that is 
subordinated to the civilian government and accepts oversight from the parliament; and a 
more affordable SPLA that plans and operates in accordance with available resources, 
while retaining its combat effectiveness. 

In late 2006, a consortium of advisors from the USA, the UK, and Switzerland 
launched the “Security Sector Development and Defense Transformation” (SSDDT) 
program, which addressed the “transformation of the security-sector system which 
includes all the actors, their roles, responsibilities and actions, so that it is managed and 
operated in a manner that is more consistent with democratic nonns and sound principles 
of good governance, and thus contributes to a well-functioning security framework.” 7 US 
support focused on command and staff training and infrastructure development, while 
Swiss and British support focused on establishing institutionalized democratic, civilian 
control. 8 SSDDT seeks to develop capacity and capability in the government of Southern 
Sudan’s security decision-making structures, defense-policy development, the SPLA, the 
Ministry of SPLA Affairs, parliamentary defense oversight, and civil society. 9 Thus, 
donor-sponsored SSR targeted the third element of the SPLA’s transformation agenda. 

The transformation process has been in progress for five years, not long enough 
for a final assessment, but a reasonable period of time for an interim assessment of 
progress. How much progress has the transformation made toward each of its stated goals 
and why? The situation in South Sudan provides a unique opportunity to study military 
transformation in which an intact force and international donors are pursuing 


7 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/Development Assistance Committee 
(OECD/DAC), Security issues and development cooperation: A conceptual framework for enhancing 
policy coherence, the CAC Journal, Vol. 2. No. 3 (2001): 11-35. 

8 Training Advisory and Development Team, the Statement of Work and Performance Work 
Statement for Enhancing the SPLA Capacities (Juba: TADT, 2006), 1-10; Markus Schefer, Report of the 
On-site In-depth Assessment (Beme: Swiss Armed Forces, Oct. 2007), 1-8; Department for Foreign and 
International Development, Project Memorandum: DFID Support to Security Sector Development and 
Defense Transformation Process in Southern Sudan (Juba: DFID, 2007), 4-14. 

9 Ibid., 7-9. 


3 



transformation/reform cooperatively, but with different emphases. 10 Most of the research 
on the effectiveness of military transformation has been conducted in the United States. 
Eliot Cohen’s analysis of the U.S. military finds that transformation based on RMA 
which is more of a military self-transformation has been effective because it brings with 
it technology which shapes military forces to look different from what they were in the 
past, it shapes the process of battle, and it enhances the combat power and effectiveness 
of the military. * 11 Technology thus, creates changes in the organizational framework and 
doctrine of the military. 12 Similarly, James Adams, Michael O’Hanlon, and Robin Laird 
et al. conclude that RMA has increased the effectiveness of the U.S. military because it 
brings with it technology which in turn transforms the military and increases its 
operational effectiveness. 13 David Betz’s study of the experiences of RMA in the U.S. 
military concludes that although advanced technology is a key component of RMA, it 
cannot “substitute for good political judgment,” but “multiples effectiveness and 
increases the likelihood of mission success” in the case of military operations other than 
war (MOOTW). 14 

In contrast, Adam N. Stulberg et al.’s comparative study of the British, German 
and U.S. militaries argues that strategies adopted for transfonnation that are limited to 
technology, systems, and operations—without considering changing an organization’s 
culture or, more specifically, ensuring that internal mechanisms manage and sustain 


10 Amos Perlmutter, The Military’ and Politics in Modern Times: On Professional, Praetorian, and 
Revolutionary’ Soldier (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), 9-17; Douglas H. Johnson; “The Sudan 
People’s Liberation Army and the Problem of Factionalism” in African Guerrillas, ed. Christopher 
Clapham (Oxford: James Currey Ltd, 1998), 56-57. 

11 Eliot Cohen, “Change and Transformation in Military Affairs,” Journal of Strategic Studies, 27, 
No. 3, September 2004, 404-405, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/136236904200Q283958 (accessed August 26, 
2010 ). 

12 Ibid. 

13 James Adams, The Next World War; Computers are the Weapon and the Front Line is Everywhere 
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998), 301-313; Michael O’Hanlon, Technological Change and the 
Future of Warfare (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2000), 1-4, 107-112, 192-195; Robin 
Laird and Holger Mey, The Revolution in Military Affairs: Allied Perspectives (Washington, DC: National 
Defense University Institute for National Strategy, 1999), 98-103. 

14 David J. Betz, “The RMA and ‘Military Operations Other than War’: A Swift Sword that Cuts 
both Ways’ in Military Transformation and Strategy’: Revolutions in Military Affairs and Small States, ed. 
Bernard Loo (London: Routledge, 2009), 127. 


4 




changes—may cause failures and limit effects. 15 David Kilcullen, and Richard Shultz and 
Andrea Dew’s studies of Western military effectiveness in Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq, and 
Afghanistan, also challenge the conventional wisdom that post-RMA, modern, high-tech 
militaries are operationally effective. 16 These studies conclude that high-tech military 
advancement undermines the ability of Western militaries to engage effectively in 
warfare that is increasingly moving towards insurgent and non-conventional types. 17 

The literature on transformation in the developing world focuses on civil-military 
relations and security sector reform rather than military effectiveness. 18 The early case- 
study literature suggests mixed results, depending on how SSR is translated into 
practice. 19 Sarah Meharg and Aleisah Amusch argue that the overall effectiveness of SSR 
in Kosovo was greatly limited by organizational culture and by the struggles of members 
of the old communist regime to protect their interest and networks. These struggles led to 
corruption and nepotism, which were particularly damaging to SSR initiatives to 
reconstruct a civil administration and reestablish the rule of law. Similarly, Timothy 
Edmunds argues that SSR progressed faster in Croatia than Serbia-Montenegro because 
it built security organizations from scratch, preventing “ideologically-based security- 
sector obstructionism” by pre-reform agents, organizational cultures, and networks. In 
contrast, the pace of transformation was slower and overall effectiveness lower in Serbia- 
Montenegro as a result of “inertia, conservatism, and obstructionism.” 20 Thus, this camp 
suggests that SSR is less effective when applied to more intact security sectors. 

15 Adam N. Stulberg, Michael Salomone and Austin Long, Managing Defense Transformation: 
Agency, Culture and Service Change (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2007), 181-196. 

16 Richard H. Shultz and Andrew Dew, Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias: The Warriors of 
Contemporary Combat (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 261-261; David Kilcullen, The 
Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One (New York: Oxford University Press, 
2009) 4-6. 

17 Shultz, Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias, 261-261; Kilcullen, The Accidental Guerrilla, 406. 

18 Edmunds, Security Sector Reform in Transforming Societies, 2. 

19 Patrick W. Skora, “Analysis of Security Sector Reform in Post-conflict Sierra Leone: A 
Comparison of Current Verses Historical Capabilities,” M.A. thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, 2010, 45- 
48; Malan, Security Sector Reform in Liberia, 67-70; Koyode, Governing Insecurity in Post-conflict States, 
199-201; Albrecht and Jackson, Security System Transformation in Sierra Leone, 200-208; Sarah Meharg 
and Aleisha Amusch, Security Sector Reform: A Case Study Approach to Transition and Capacity 
Building, ed. Susan Merrill (Carlisle: Strategic Studies Institute, 2010), 1-19. 

20 Edmunds, Security Sector Reform in Transforming Societies, 239, 181. 

5 



Malan’s study of Liberia, Haiti, East Timor, and Sierra Leone finds that the 
effectiveness of SSR is affected by the size and approach of the programs, rather than 
their breadth or whether they started from scratch. He argues that in all cases SSR was 
largely ineffective because levels of funding were too low and the programs too short. 21 
Malan finds that more comprehensive approaches are more effective, even in the context 
of inadequate time and resources. Similarly, Alfred Lokuji et al. find that early 
effectiveness of SSR was later greatly limited by its narrow application in Southern 
Sudan, focusing too much on the SPLA, while the police, the judiciary, and the 
correctional services have received little attention. 22 

Finally, there is a debate about the effect of “local ownership” on SSR 
effectiveness. International donors and recipient governments agree that local ownership 
is important to successful security-sector reform. 23 Nevertheless, there are conflicting 
findings on its effect in the research. For Sierra Leone, there are debates about both the 
level of local ownership and the success of SSR. 24 Based on the limited capacity of the 
Sierra Leonean government to generate resources internally to sustain SSR, and the level 
of involvement by Sierra Leoneans in the initial design of the program, Osman Gbla 
concludes that local ownership is low and argues that this has limited the effectiveness of 
SSR. 25 Fayemi Koyode reaches a similar conclusion based on the extent of reliance on 


21 Malan, Security Sector Reform in Liberia, xii, 72. 

22 Alfred Lokuji, Abraham Abatneh, and Chaplain K. Wani, Police Reform in Southern Sudan (Juba: 
Center for Peace and Development Studies, University of Juba, 2009), 16. 

23 Herbert Wulf, ‘Security Sector Reform in Developing and Transitional Countries’ in Security 
Sector Reform: Potentials and Challenges for Conflict Transformation, ed. Clem McCartney, Martina 
Fischer and Oliver Wils (Berlin: Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, 2004), 
16. 

24 Skora, Analysis of Security’ Sector Reform in Post-conflict Sierra Leone, 4. 

25 Osman Gbla, “Security Sector Reform in Sierra Leone Reform” in Challenges to Security Sector 
Reform in the Horn of Africa, ed. Len Le Roux and Yemane Kidane (Pretoria: ISS Monograph Series No. 
135. May, 2007), 86-88. 


6 



donor directives . 26 However, Albrecht and Jackson find that local ownership is high, 
citing local participation and consultation in the development of security policies, and 
argue that this has contributed to SSR effectiveness . 27 

On the other side of the debate, Herbert Wulf s study of Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra 
Leone, Liberia, and Democratic Republic of the Congo suggests that strong external, 
donor-driven SSR without significant local ownership has been effective precisely 
because it cuts out local, self-interested obstructionism . 28 Wulf also notes that often 
domestic SSR efforts “are not directed at improving the security of the population but are 
exclusively aimed at rationalizing or modernizing armed forces and police to save money 
or to enhance their postures and capabilities .” 29 

The research on RMA suggests that security concerns are determinant in military 
self-transformation; the primary aim of the military being combat effectiveness to “fight 
and win its nation’s war .” 30 This suggests that the SPLA transformation process should 
have progressed furthest on the combat effectiveness goal. The literature on SSR 
suggests that it is less effective when applied to a more intact military and/or when 
limited in size and scope. Both of these conditions are present in South Sudan, so one 
would expect to find that the SSDDT has had little impact on advancing the civil-military 
relations goal of the SPLA transformation agenda. The debate on whether more local 
ownership is associated with more or less effective reform has more ambiguous 
implications for South Sudan. However, on balance, the limited scope of donor 
engagement suggests that the SPLA’s priorities will drive transformation, thus 
reinforcing the overall thrust of existing knowledge that leads us to expect more progress 


26 Koyode, Governing Insecurity in Post-conflict States, 23—27; Skora, Analysis of Security Sector 
Reform in Post-conflict Sierra Leone, 5. 

27 Ibid., 23-27. 

28 Widf, Security Sector Reform in Developing and Transitional Countries, 16. 

29 Ibid., 15. 

30 Togo D. West, Jr., and Dennis J. Reimer, “A Statement on the Posture of the United States Army 
Fiscal year 1997, presented to the Committees of the United States Senate and the House of 
Representatives Second Session,” 104 th Congress, the Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, 
Congressional Activities Division (DACS-CAD), 1997, http://www.army.mil/aps/97/chl.htm (accessed 
August 30, 2010). 


7 




on combat effectiveness and less on SPLA subordination to institutionalized civilian 
authority. Finally, it is expected that progress on restructuring and retraining (the other 
two elements of the SPLA transformation) will be most limited, because neither actor 
prioritizes these in practice. 

In order to test this hypothesis the thesis begins by establishing baseline measures 
on each transformation objective as of the end of 2005, just before the transformation 
process was adopted. The thesis draws largely upon primary sources to evaluate the 
extent of progress on each element by the end of 2010, including unpublished 
government documents and the author’s own experience as a direct participant in the 
process of transforming the SPLA since 2006. Additional evidence is collected through 
questionnaires and structured telephone interviews with the military leadership and other 
officers at the SPLA general headquarters, division, brigade and battalion levels, 
members of the civilian government, the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly, civil- 
society organizations, and international partners such as the United States security 
advisors to the SPLA, the United Kingdom Department for Foreign and International 
Development, overseers of Swiss support to security-sector refonn, Adam Smith 
International, the Center for Policy Research and Dialogue, and DynCorp International, 
all of which are direct implementers of the security-sector reform program. 

The documentary evidence is generally used to establish the extent of progress on 
each goal, and the questionnaires and interviews to explain the patterns of transformation. 
The survey asked the following: Have the force structure, size and/or control and 
accountability been affected in any way by the transformation process and why? Has the 
level of preparedness (developing discipline, morale, agility) changed as a result of the 
transformation process and why? Have a professional military-education (PME) system 
and a training-management-cycle system been developed and have these changes 
contributed to improved discipline, morale and agility? Has the SPLA been brought 
under institutional oversight mechanisms, and how much are its mission and roles guided 
by strategic vision and defense policies? Has lethality (through rearmament and rapid 
responsiveness) of the SPLA been built as intended? Why or why not? The original 
target number of the subjects to be enrolled for the survey was between 350 and 500. 

8 



Ultimately, there were 393 participants, of which 49 percent were soldiers and officers 
and 51 percent civilians. Six percent of civilian respondents were non-Sudanese involved 
directly or indirectly in the transformation program. 

(N=393) 


S/NO. Characteristics 

Frequency 

Percentage 

1 Military 

192 

48.9% 

Officers 

160 


Soldiers 

32 


2. Civilians 

201 

51.1% 

South Sudanese Nationals 

188 


Foreign Nationals 

13 



Figure 1. Distribution of Respondents According to Characteristics 


This thesis is organized into four chapters. Following this introductory chapter, 
the second chapter establishes the baseline measures of force structure, training effect, 
civil-military relations and operational effectiveness in 2005. The third chapter 
establishes and explains the extent of progress on each objective by the end of 2010. The 
final chapter draws conclusions and provides recommendations to inform future policies 
and plans on the ongoing transformation of the SPLA. 


9 







THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK 


10 



II. THE STATUS OF SPLA IN 2005 PRIOR TO THE 
TRANSFORMATION PROCESS 


A. INTRODUCTION 

The SPLA was estimated to be 104,441 strong 31 when, in accordance with the 
CPA and the interim Constitution; it became a de facto state military tasked with 
providing security and defense for the territory designated as South Sudan in 2005. 32 The 
size of the SPLA subsequently expanded with time as more and more soldiers reported 
and were registered into the overall parade, and as forces of the other anned groups were 
integrated into the SPLA. 33 There was, however, a general consensus that it fell short of 
standards and capacities expected of a national armed force. 34 First, it was a guerrilla 
anned force in its organization, training doctrine, civil-military relations and combat 
approaches. 35 Second, it was perceived to be inadequately prepared to fend off a potential 
attack by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the north. 36 Third, there were new budgetary 
issues since for the first time a civilian authority was statutorily obligated to pay for the 


31 SPLA Directorate of Administration, The SPLA total parade for salary, (Juba: SPLA GHQs, 2006). 

32 IGAD Secretariat, The Security Arrangement Protocol: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement 
between the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army, 87- 
117; Government of Sudan, The Interim National Constitution of the Republic of the Sudan (Khartoum: 
Government of Sudan, 2005), 84; Government of South Sudan, The Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan 
(Juba: Government of South Sudan, 2005), 61-62. 

33 Richard Rands, In Need of Review; SPLA Transformation in 2006 -10 and Beyond (Geneva: Small 
Arms Survey, graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 2010), 7, 11, 14 and 38. 

34 SPLA GHQs, Report of the Senior Command and Staff Meeting. 

35 Christopher Clapham, “Introduction: Analyzing African Insurgencies,” in African Guerrillas, ed. 
Christopher Clapham (Oxford: James Currey Ltd, 1998), 5-7; Johnson, The Sudan People’s Liberation 
Army and the Problem of Factionalism, 57-72; Madut-Arop, Sudan's Painful Road to Peace: A Full Story> 
of the Founding and Development of SPLM/A (Charleston: Book surge publishing, 2006), 77, 87, 95. 

36 SPLA GHQs, Report of Senior Command and Staff Meeting. 


11 



SPLA, which had previously been self-sufficient. 37 Fourth, there were challenges of 
integrating other anned groups, some of which had opposed the SPLA, into the force 
based on the Juba Agreement of 2006. 38 

This chapter provides a 2005 baseline measure of SPLA structure and procedures 
that were targets for transformation in 2006 (force structures; training of SPLA soldiers 
and officers; roles and functions in the absence of civilian control over the SPLA; and 
lethality). 39 The following discussion both describes the weaknesses targeted for 
transfonnation and provides a baseline for judging the level of change in force structure 
organization, training, functions and roles, and combat effectiveness as a result of the 
transformation process through the end of 2010. 

B. FORCE STRUCTURE 

The challenges of force structure, accountability and management can be traced to 
the evolution of the SPLA as a decentralized guerrilla force facing the challenges of 
scarce resources, poor physical infrastructures and the vastness of its area of operation. 
Although the leadership structure was very centralized in principle, Bradbury et al note 
that “local commanders enjoyed a considerable freedom of action. Indeed, the SPLM/A 
was described by one interviewee as an organization built on a series of almost semi- 
autonomous commanders or ‘warlords’ who are ‘franchised’ to operate on behalf of the 
leadership.” 40 Similarly, the recruitment system had been based on both forceful drafting 
and voluntarism often under the supervision of the ‘mobile units’ or ‘task forces’ 
commanders that were sent to areas around South Sudan to conduct political 


37 IGAD Secretariat, The Security Arrangement Protocol: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement 
between the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army, 87- 

117. 

38 Rands, In Need of Review, 7, 11, 14 and 38. 

39 Ibid, 38. 

40 Hannah Badiey, “The Transformation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the 
Challenges of Post-Conflict Institutional Change in Southern Sudan,” MPhil Dissertation, International 
Development Center, Oxford University, 2007, 24; Mark Bradbury, Nicholas Leader and Kate Mackintosh, 
The ‘Agreement on Ground Rules’ in South Sudan: Study 3 in The Politics of Principle: The Principles of 
Humanitarian Action in Practice (London: Overseas Development Institute, March 2000), 18. 


12 



mobilization. 41 As a result, in 2005 the SPLA force structure was not clearly defined in 
terms of the required size, how its officers and soldiers were organized in accordance 
with their ranks and skills, or how its weapons and equipment were distributed. 42 It 
lacked a framework for the organization of its general headquarters (GHQs), Infantry 
Division and support units, in which ranks, force strength, required armament and 
logistics would be distributed, and thus lacked even a template to guide it with regards to 
required force structure, size, and firepower. 43 

In recognition of this challenge, at the end of 2005 the SPLA issued a message to 
all its officers and soldiers to report to specified assembling points in Lainya, Papa 91 and 
Akucieng for verification, and established a military cluster committee sub-committee on 
organizational structure to design a force structure framework and template. 44 In addition, 
the SPLA had difficulties ensuring force control and accountability because it lacked 
functional record systems on enlisted and NCO’s travels, leaves, health status, level of 
education, transfers, desertion, missing in Action (MIA), wounded in Action (WIA), 
killed in Action (KIA) or death from other causes. 45 It had a rudimentary system for the 
officers corps commonly referred to as a “Dam Record,” which basically was a record of 
officers’ date of commissioning, promotions and seniority, but it was equally faced with a 
few challenges, and a limited number of messages conveying transfers, death and 
desertion of predominantly senior officers. 46 Complaints from officers claiming delays in 


41 Ibid., 19; Johnson, The Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Problem of Factionalism, 1998, 
58; Madut-Arop, Sudan's Painful Road to Peace, 93-94. 

42 SPLA GHQs, Report of Senior Command and Staff Meeting. 

43 Moran, Michael, “Modem Military Force Structures,” Council on Foreign Relations, October 26, 
2006, http://www.cfr.Org/defensehomeland-seciirity/modern-militarv-force-stmctures/p 11819#p 1 (accessed 
February 26, 2011). 

44 SPLA GHQs, Message to All Units, SPLA GHQs, November 2005; SPLA GHQs, Organizational 
structure of the SPLA GHQs, (Juba: Military Cluster Committee, Sub-Committee on Organizational 
Structure and Establishment of SPLA, 2006), 4-5; SPLA GHQs, Organizational Structure of the SPLA 
Infantry Division, (Juba: Military Cluster Committee, sub-committee on organizational structure and 
establishment of SPLA, 2006), 1-168; SPLA GHQs, Organizational Structure of the SPLA Support Units, 
(Juba: Military Cluster Committee, sub-committee on organizational structure and establishment of SPLA, 
2006), 1-400. 

45 Bradbury, Leader and Mackintosh, The Agreement on Ground Rules in South Sudan, 18; Personal 
observation at the SPLA GHQs, until 2009 the Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration 
Commission (DDR) and the SPLA Administration were still collecting data on the MIA, WIA and KIA. 

46 Rands, In Need of Review, 20. 


13 




their promotions and displacement from their rightful seniority were common, 
particularly after forces from the other anned groups were integrated. This problem was 
particularly apparent when, in response to the message ordering all SPLA forces to report 
to assembly points, a large number of non-SPLA men and women reported, calling 
themselves SPLA fighters and demanding to be included in the newly established payroll 
and military benefits (including monthly salaries, food and medical care). 47 Lacking 
records, the SPLA had great difficulty establishing who was and was not a member of the 
force. 

Before 2006 the size of the SPLA was not limited by policy or available financial 
resources mainly because human resources were its primary fighting tool, and fighters 
were not paid. 48 This changed after 2005 when the newly formed government of South 
Sudan (GoSS) assumed financial responsibility for the SPLA, and members of the SPLA 
began to expect regular pay and other support now that the force was a national army 49 
The force size was huge in relation to available resources. For example, the SPLA 
registered a total parade of 104,441 soldiers and officers on its salary sheet in 2006, with 
an annual budget of about 40 percent from GoSS. 50 In addition to overall force structure 
and size the SPLA was top heavy in 2005. 51 This problem was also exacerbated by the 
integration of the other armed forces. For example, the SPLA integrated about 17 Major 
Generals from the other anned groups (OAGs). 52 The excessive number of officers 
became apparent when the SPLA began to reorganize its GHQs, infantry Divisions and 


47 SPLA GHQs, Message to All Units, November 2005. 

48 Based on the author’s personal experience as an SPLA officer, not a single SPLA soldier or officer 
received salary prior to the signing of the CPA. 

40 IGAD Secretariat, The Security Arrangement Protocol: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement between 
the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army, 87. 

50 Government of South Sudan, Approved Budget of 2006 (Juba: GOSS, Ministry of Finance and 
Economic Planning, 2006), 3; Government of South Sudan, Approved budget of 2007 (Juba: GOSS 
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, 2007), 4; Government of South Sudan, Budget at a glance: 
Government of South Sudan, Approved budget of 2008 (Juba: GOSS Ministry of Finance and Economic 
Planning, 2008), 4; Government of South Sudan, Approved budget of 2009 (Juba: GOSS Ministry of 
Finance and Economic Planning, 2009), 5. 

5 1 Rands, In Need of Review, 20, 38. 

52 Ibid. , 11 and 20. 


14 



support units on the basis of the framework developed by the sub-committee on 
organizational structure under the Military Cluster Committee in 2006. 53 

C. TRAINING 

Past training approaches which were designed to produce “revolutionary soldiers” 
who were instruments of political mobilization had resulted in inadequacies in 
professionalism. 54 The SPLA training doctrine from its inception was heavily focused on 
“politicization” and orientation as opposed to professional military education. 55 Training 
and promotion was based on shared beliefs in a “political cause” rather than military 
education and training. 56 These training approaches had continued up to 2005 and had 
equally caused concerns for transformation. The provision of monthly pay for the first 
time in 2006, which came with new requirements for soldiers to report for full time duty 
and adhere strictly to military standing orders, exposed the gaps in the SPLA’s 
professionalism. By 2005, there was an increase in indiscipline among soldiers as many 
used their new salaries for alcohol consumption and unauthorized movements. 57 
Akucieng assembling and training camp was turned into a market place, complete with 
local breweries, both reflecting and exacerbating indiscipline and command and control 
problems. 58 Further indiscipline problems were illustrated in November 2006 when an 
SPLA company of a Joint Integrated Units (JIUs), many of whom were drunk, broke 
loose and began shooting into the air on the streets of Juba demanding their pay 
following a short delay in payment because of problems in Khartoum that were beyond 
the control of the SPLA Fleadquarters in Juba. 59 


53 Rands, In Need of Review, 11. 

54 Madut-Arop, Sudan's Painful Road to Peace, 93-95. 

55 Ibid. 

56 Perlmutter, The Military and Politics in Modern Times, 13-17, 205-280; John Ellis, Armies in 
Revolutions (London: CroomHelm, 1973) 238-251. 

57 SPLA Directorate of Training and Research, Assessment Report (Juba: Department of Military 
Research and Planning, SPLA GHQs, 2006) 27-29. 

58 Ibid. 

59 United Nations Missions in Sudan, “ Media Headlines ,” December 16, 2006,” 
http://unmis.iinmissions.org/Portals/UNMIS/2006Docs/mmr-decl6.pdf (Accessed January 14, 2011). 


15 




Indiscipline, disorderliness, neglect of duty and disobedience were also apparent 
within the officer corps. 60 The Department of Military Research and Planning within the 
Directorate of Training and Research Branch detennined that some of this was 
attributable to inadequate education, which was an obstacle to internalization of military 
discipline and ethos. 61 Many SPLA officers did not go through the standard military 
progression, but rather mastered officers’ responsibilities through experience, practice 
and short courses. 62 Even those who attended cadet, platoon and company command 
courses outside of Sudan often fell short on officership, defined by skills, knowledge and 
expertise acquired through formal education, performance credibility, competence and 
adherence to formal code of law and ethnics. 63 In 2005 the SPLA lacked functional 
Professional Military Education defined as “progressive levels of military education that 
prepares military officers for leadership including various basic level courses for the new 
and junior officers, command and staff colleges for the mid-level officers, and war 
colleges for the senior officers.” 64 

Widespread indiscipline and disorderliness among soldiers and officers made it 
obvious to the SPLA General Headquarters and the Directorate of SPLA Training and 
Research Branch that the training system needed to be transformed 65 One of the primary 
tasks of the Directorate of Training and Research Branch from 2005 was to retrain the 
forces once they were screened and organized into conventional military structures from 
Squad to Division levels. It was immediately confronted with multiple challenges. Lirst, 
the nine training centers (New Kush, Pariak, Korpiot, Owingkybul, Booth, Mapel, 


60 Author’s personal observation, 2006; SPLA Directorate of Training and Research Branch, 
Assessment Report, 27-29. 

61 Ibid. 

62 Ibid. 

63 LeRiche, “How Humanitarianism affected the conduct and outcome of war in South Sudan,” PhD 
Dissertation, Department of War Studies, King’s College, University of London, 2009, 66, 74; J.A.A. Van 
Doom, “The Military Profession in Transition,” in Manpower Research in a Defense Context, ed. N.A.B. 
Wilson (New York: American Elsevier Publishing Company, Inc., 1969), 451-459. 

64 U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “PME as defined by the US Defense Security 
Cooperation Agency,” http://www.dsca.osd.mil/home/professional military education.htm (Accessed 
January 23, 2011). 

63 SPLA GHQs, Report on Senior Command and Staff Meeting. 


16 




Akucieng, Gufa and Jawu) eannarked for the mass retraining lacked even basic facilities 
such as shelter, clean drinking water, sanitary facilities and a perimeter fence for control 
and security purposes. 66 Institutions for officers training also lacked basic facilities. As a 
result, the mass assembly of forces in these training centers in 2006 led to outbreaks of 
cholera and other hygiene related diseases. 67 

In addition, there was an acute shortage of qualified instructors. 68 During initial 
basic training a soldier is trained to be part of a squad. The standard ratio is one instructor 
to 11 trainees. This ratio is equally applicable to squad leader/junior NCO training since 
leadership and command of the squad is the focus of training. Specialist training (annor, 
artillery, etc) is dependent on the size of the crew/team operating the equipment or 
weapon system. For example, if the ta nk crew is four personnel, then the ratio is one 
instructor to four soldiers. For platoon commander/platoon sergeant courses, the ratio can 
be extended to two instructors per 33 men (or a platoon). In this case, one instructor is an 
officer and the other is a senior NCO/sergeant major in order to replicate the 
responsibilities of platoon command and administration. During training the students 
work as a platoon with command appointments alternating as training develops. For 
command and staff courses, at Junior and senior level, the ratio is dependent on the 
number of students that can be managed in a syndicate/discussion group. The maximum 
ratio is 1:25-30 depending on the capabilities of the students and the instructor. 69 These 
standards and conditions did not exist for the SPLA in 2005. 70 In Akucieng training 
center, for example, there were about 40 instructors for the training of about three 
Brigades (with each Brigade composed of 2,487 personnel without the Brigade support 


66 Author’s personal observation, 2006; SPLA Directorate of Training and Research, Assessment 
Report, 30-36. 

67 SPLA Directorate of Training and Research, End of Year Report for 2006 (Juba: Directorate of 
Training and Research, SPLA GHQs, 2006). 

68 Ibid. 

^Department of Military Research and Planning, Consolidated Report of the Training and Research 
Branch from 2005-2008 (Juba: Department of Military Research and Planning, SPLA GHQs, February 
2009), 16-28. 

70 Ibid. 


17 



units), 71 making the instructor to trainee ration 1:187, making it difficult for instructors to 
give attention to individual soldier training progress.. In addition, only half of the 
instructors were qualified and experienced in specific skills such as foot drills, tactics, 
marksmanship, and weaponry. 72 

Finally, there was no codified training doctrine or unified training manual or 
syllabus to guide the retraining program. 73 There was also no training management cycle 
to provide for ongoing assessment for identification of training requirements, from which 
training plans, programs and exercises could be monitored and. Thus, the SPLA lacked 
the ability to establish training priorities, allocate training resources appropriately, 
develop training plans and objectives and evaluate training. There was also no functional 
system linking training needs to capability analysis in relation to threat landscapes. 

D. CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS 

There was no institutionalized civil-military relations framework in 2005. The 
CPA and the interim Constitution of South Sudan (2005) provided the basis for the 
establishment of the Government of South Sudan and for setting up “institutional control 
mechanisms,” 74 including the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Parliamentary 
Committees on Security and Defense. However, the Ministry of SPLA Affairs (a de facto 
Ministry of Defense) was not formed until mid 2007 when a Minister was appointed. 75 
There were also no strategic policy frameworks and positions that clearly stipulated: 

1. Guidelines within which SPLA’s strategies and plans could be framed and 
activities could take place; 

2. Conceptual and practical guidelines via which the SPLA could be 
assessed, held accountable and avoid decision-making that was not cost 
effective; 

3. The SPLA’s posture, size and roles; 


71 SPLA GHQs, Organizational Structure of the SPLA Infantry Division, 49. 

72 Directorate of Military Research and Planning, Consolidated Report of the Training and Research 
Branch from 2005—2008, 16-28. 

73 Ibid. 


74 Braneau and Matei, Towards a New Conceptualization of Democratization and Civil-Military’ 
Relations, 909-924. 


75 Rand, In Need of Review, 39. 


18 



4. A framework for ensuring that the SPLA performed the roles allocated to 
it to acceptable standards as defined by a civil authority. 

The existing quasi defense planning system was sufficient for setting the general 
mission and goals of the SPLA as a guerrilla force, but was incapable of translating 
missions and goals into time-bound plans, programs and budget systems feeding back to 
strategic level decision-making architectures with the GoSS. The limited professionalism 
of the SPLA noted in the preceding paragraphs was another obstacle to the exercise of 
institutionalized civilian authority. On the whole, as of 2005, the institutions and practice 
of civil-military relations involving the SPLA were inadequate if not absent. 

E. OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS 

The SPLA’s operational capability in the years preceding the CPA was 
unquestionable as illustrated by its size, lethality, resilience, agility and ability to employ 
guerrilla or conventional tactics as dictated by the circumstance that established the 
military stalemate that produced the CPA. 76 This capability was supported by its 
equipment inventory, which included armoured battle tanks, artillery pieces, BM-21 
Rocket Launchers, Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADS) and other anti¬ 
aircraft, communication equipment, and combat transport vehicles (some of which were 
captured during battles with the Sudan Armed Forces). 77 Nevertheless, in 2006 the 
military leadership identified weakness in lethality, mobility, agility, morale, and 
strategic planning that had the potential to undermine operational effectiveness in against 
future threats. 78 

One of the main problems identified was the functional depreciation of SPLA 
equipment. Some of its rifles were nearly two decades old. Mobility was also deemed to 
be inadequate for rapid response and forward deployment in the event of combat, as a 


76 Johnson, The Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Problem of Factionalism, 1998, 59; 
LeRiche, How Humanitarianism affected the conduct and outcome of war in South Sudan, 84; Madut-Arop, 
Sudan's Painful Road to Peace, 77; Bradbury, Leader and Mackintosh, The ‘Agreement on Ground Rules ’ 
in South Sudan, 18; SPLA GHQs, SPLA Act: Laws of the New Sudan (Yei: Secretariat of Legal Affairs and 
Constitutional Development, 2003), 5-10. 

77 Ibid. 

78 SPLA GHQs, Report of Senior Command and Staff Meeting. 


19 



result of too few transport vehicles. 79 Morale and esprit de corps were also considered 
inadequate as a result of combat fatigue and ethnic tension. 80 Political rivalries within the 
political wing of the SPLA and within the diverse societies of South Sudan had often 
produced knock on effects on the overall esprit de corps and capabilities of the SPLA, 
particularly of the officer’s corps, and threatened to do so again. 81 

F. CONCLUSION 

By late 2005, following the signing of the CPA and the formation of the 
Government of South Sudan, it was clear to the SPLA leadership that its guerrilla 
character and modus operandi was inadequate for the new political and institutional 
landscape. Its force structure needed to be defined, its force size reduced to an affordable 
level, training reoriented and improved, institutionalized civilian oversight mechanisms 
established, strategic guidance developed, and operational effectiveness augmented. The 
political and military leadership in South Sudan thus called for a transfonnation of the 
SPLA from guerrilla to a state anned force. 


79 Directorate of Logistics, Report on Status of SPLA Logistics (Juba: Directorate of Logistic, SPLA 
GHQs, 2006), 1-13. 

80 Africa Watch, Denying “The Honor of Living” Sudan: A Human Rights Disaster (Africa Watch 
Committee: New York, March, 1990), 153; Human Rights Watch, Civilian Devastation: Abuses by all 
Parties in the War in Southern Sudan (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994), 55; LeRiche, How 
Humanitarianism Affected the Conduct and Outcome of War in South Sudan, 362-3. 

Johnson, The Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Problem of Factionalism, 1998, 53-72; Julie 
Flint, ‘Sudanese Rebels Await Armed Onslaught’ The Guardian (London), 7 November 1994, 10; Sharon 
Hutchinson, Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with Money, War and the State (Berkley and Los Angeles: University 
of California Press, 1996), 338-345; Sharon Hutchinson ‘A Curse from God? Religious and Political 
Dimensions of the Post-1991 Rise of Ethnic Violence in South Sudan’ The Journal of Modern African 
Studies, Vol. 39. No. 2, 2001, 307-331. 


20 



III. FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS ON THE EFFECTS OF THE 
TRANSFORMATION PROCESS ON THE SPLA BY 2010 


A. INTRODUCTION 

Have there been significant changes in the four main areas targeted by the 
transformation process, and why or why not? Has the force structure, size and/or control 
and accountability been affected? Has preparedness (developing discipline, morale, 
agility) improved? Has a professional military-education (PME) system and a training- 
management-cycle system been developed? How much has the SPLA been brought under 
institutional oversight mechanisms, and how much are its mission and roles guided by 
strategic vision and defense policies? Finally how much lethality (through rearmament 
and rapid responsiveness) has been built? And what explains this pattern of 
transfonnation? 

As expected, five years of transfonnation efforts have not produced uniform 
effects across all the transformation goals. This chapter will show that progress on 
institutionalizing civil-military relations has been made at the strategic level, which was 
targeted by donors and the GoSS, but has not been implemented at lower levels by the 
SPLA in accordance with donor expectations. 82 Progress on the goal of increasing 
lethality was met at the strategic, operational and tactical levels because this was the 
SPLA’s primary objective and it therefore concentrated its limited capabilities on 
meeting this goal. Less progress was made on other two goals, because donors did not 
target them, and the SPLA largely sacrificed them to the goal of increasing lethality. 
Overall, the SPLA is not yet a transformed armed force. 

B. FORCE STRUCTURE 

Little has been achieved on transfonning the organizational framework of the 
SPLA in terms of force accountability, force size or ra nk alignment with the force size. 

82 Markus Schefer, in discussion with the author, October 1, 2010. 


21 



The only success has been at the GHQs level, because these changes supported donor 
priorities with respect to the civil military relations objective. There was no discernable 
progress at the operational or tactical levels, because these changes were less critical to 
the donor priority and competed with the SPLA’s priority for maximizing operational 
effectiveness. 

The research findings reveal that 84 percent of the SPLA officers and soldiers 
surveyed believe that the force structure has improved as a result of the transformation 
efforts, but mostly at the GHQs level. Most cited more clearly defined structures at the 
GHQs, which they see as resulting from concentration of support systems, training 
opportunities and advisory support at the GHQs in Juba. Without a doubt, further 
evidence shows policy guideline documents and frameworks for organizational structure, 
such as the SPLA White Paper on Defense and the SPLA Act were developed and only 
disseminated at the strategic level. Most of the dissemination workshops sponsored by 
donors and the various donor mentoring activities were at the HQs level. For example, all 
of the US $9.6 million allocated by the UK government for the transformation of the 
SPLA between 2006 and 2011 focused on the strategic level, and all nine advisors 
contracted by the UK were stationed at the SPLA GHQs. 83 Plan for wider dissemination 
to the SPLA’s tactical levels only began in mid-2009. 84 

Similarly, further evidence from the findings which supports the claims about 
success at the SPLA GHQs level shows that as a result of the transfonnation efforts, the 
organizational framework was completed August 2006 in the form of three 
interdependent documents: organizational structure of the SPLA GHQs, organizational 
structure of the SPLA Infantry Division and organizational structure of the SPLA support 
units. 85 These documents provide organizational charts for composition by rank, strength 

83 Department for Foreign and International Development, Project Memorandum, 4-14; Rands, In 
Need of Review, 36. 

84 Directorate of Military Research and Transformation, Workshop Report on SPLA Transformation 
Process (Juba: SPLA GHQs, 2009), 22-23. 

85 SPLA GHQs, Organizational Structure of the SPLA GHQs, 4-5; SPLA GHQs, Organizational 
Structure of the SPLA Infantry’ Division, 1-168; SPLA GHQs, Organizational Structure of the SPLA 
Support Units, 1-400. 


22 



distribution and annament and logistics, such as transport. The SPLA General 
Headquarters was immediately reorganized in accordance with the organizational 
frameworks laid out in the three interdependent documents. The office of the Chief of 
General Staff, supported by six deputies who were appointed in mid 2005, was confinned 
by the new framework to oversee the newly established Directorates, support units and 
corps. The GHQs improved its capacity to respond appropriately to various defense 
requirements over the course of the next four years. By 2010 the GHQs deployed and 
employed its forces to some extent in line with the set frameworks. 86 It received regular 
reports from the Infantry divisions through its operation center, and the regular push 
forward of logistics and finances to the infantry divisions was through the developed 
logistic and financial frameworks. 87 



Figure 2. SPLA GHQs Command and Staff Organizational Structure and Composition from 

Organizational Structure of the SPLA GHQs of 2006 88 


86 Office of the President and Commander in Chief, Redeployment (Transfer) of the SPLA Senior 
Officers (Juba, Office of the President, 2010). 

87 Rand, In Need of Review, 26-31. 

88 SPLA GHQs, Organizational structure of the SPLA GHQs, 14. 


23 






Particulars 

Officers ( 

| Other ranks 


Maj. Gen. 

Brig. Gen. 

Col. 

Lt. Col. 

Maj. 

Capt. 

3 

23 

-a 

G 

<N 

R/SM 

s 

C/D 

SGT 

CPL 

L/CPL 

PVT 

TOTAL 

Infantry 
Division 
and its 

support 
units 

1 

8 

27 

53 

170 

207 

313 

351 

90 

310 

1457 

2290 

1827 

6514 

12,488 

Total 

1,130 S 

| 12,488 

13,618 


Figure 3. Composition of SPLA Infantry Division and Support Units after Data Extracted 

from Organizational Structure of the SPLA Infantry Division 89 

On the whole, the only effects of the transformation program that have been 
apparent as of 2010 were at the headquarters level which confirms the common assertion 
that such effects were expected because of the over concentration of the donor support 
system at the GHQs level. As one senior officer notes: “everybody now knows where he 
or she falls within the structures of the GHQs as evidenced by the position you hold and 
the salary you receive. There are however, still problems with the force structure as you 
go lower.” 90 

The transformation plans which provided for force structure frameworks aimed at 
guiding overall restructuring, force accountability at all echelons, and right sizing of the 
force were instead steered by the SPLA leadership towards the reorganization of the 
SPLA’s component of fighting power because of the continuous looming threats from the 
Government of Sudan. Developing combat capability was therefore a high priority for the 
SPLA leadership. Indeed, findings from 88 percent of the SPLA officers and soldiers 
interviewed reveal that the SPLA’s force structure has not been restructured strictly on 
the basis of the provided force structure framework defined by the transformation plans. 
This percentage of interviewees agree that the main reason the SPLA did not follow the 
transformation plans as set is because the SPLA leadership made a deliberate decision not 
to as it would have endangered the SPLA cohesion. Obviously for the SPLA leadership it 

89 SPLA GHQs, Organizational structure of the SPLA GHQs, 32. 

90 SPLA Brigadier General noted in the survey questionnaire, October 2010. 


24 




was apparent that some of the key elements spelled out in the force structure framework 
such as rightsizing of the force and realignment of the ranks would have entailed 
demobilization of the forces most of whom were already experienced and harden fighters. 
Such an action would have in turn had negative implications for the overall force morale 
and above all, it would have created a serious gap in the human fighting power of the 
SPLA which the SPLA by and large rely on. 

On the whole, the reluctance by the SPLA leadership to transform the other 
components of force structure such as rightsizing and rank alignment had knock on 
effects on the overall force structure. There are problems with the force structure as you 
go lower. First, the force has not been reorganized based on the provided frameworks and 
there are still misunderstandings of roles and functions below the GFIQs level. The 7 th 
and 8 th Divisions’ parades, for example, were 5,438 and 6,778, respectively, far below the 
10,000 stipulated in the organizational structure. Other Divisions, meanwhile, were far 
above their required force size (Figure 5) as a result of integration of other armed groups. 
Therefore, the transformation efforts have not made any progress in reorganizing the 
forces at the division level and 88 percent of the respondents attribute this particular lack 
of progress to gaps in the transformation plans that failed to enhance force management 
capacities at both the GHQs and division levels. 



rfcfeta* 


□ kCPkfcfcfi 

□ it«l r+ddxti 

□ Srd Pkfcfcn 

□ «hPkfcfcn 
■fthPkfefcn 
QftliPkfefcngRH) 

□ RhPkfefcn 
□UhPkfcfcn 
■tthPkfefcfi 

□ Uttirfcfefcii 


Figure 4. Force Size by Division, After Data Collected from the SPLA Parade List of 2010. 91 


9 1 SPLA Brigadier General noted in the survey questionnaire, October 2010. 

25 





































Secondly, the force structure in terms of force size at the operational and tactical 
levels and in terms of ranks at all the levels as of 2010 is not close to the proposed 
standard set by the transformation framework as indicated in Figure 3. The distribution of 
ranks became significantly worse in the first five years of the transformation process. 92 
The total number of officers increased from 10,361 in 2006 to 20,991 in 2010 (Figures 7 
and 8). Eighty eight percent of the survey respondents suggest that the integration of 
other anned groups held back any attempt to address the excessive ranks, while 
increasing the number of officers in the SPLA. For example, about 17 Major Generals 
from OAGs were integrated into the SPLA. 93 According to a senior SPLA officer at 
GHQs: 

The transformation efforts were simply limited to policy statements with limited 
practical implementation strategy. In reality, the rank issues have been extremely 
sensitive and everybody avoided handling it because the only appropriate way to 
address it is to retire officers regardless of their age. 94 

On the whole, compared to the force structure in 2006, the transformation efforts 
have made no progress in terms of alignment of the ranks in accordance with the force 
structure. 


92 SPLA Brigadier General noted in the survey questionnaire, October 2010.; SPLA GHQs, 
Organizational Structure of the SPLA Infantry’ Division , 49. 

93 Rands, In Need of Review, 11. 

94 SPLA Colonel noted in the survey questionnaire, November 4, 2010. 


26 




Particulars 

Officers | 

| Other ranks 


Maj. Gen. 

Brig. Gen. 

Col. 

Lt. Col. 

Maj. 

Capt. 

23 

23 

-o 

c 

<N 

R/SM 

2 

GO 

SGT 

CPL 

L/CPL 

PVT 

TOTAL 

Framework 

Infantry 
Division 
and its 

support 
units 


OO 

t*- 

<N 

CO 

O 

207 

CO 

CO 

oo 

CO 

O 

ON 

310 

1457 

2290 

1827 

6514 

OO 

OO 

<N 

Total 

1,131 

0 1 

| 12,488 

13,618 

Actual 

4 th Infantry 
Division 

cn 

<N 

<N 

so 

<N 

o 

ON 

<N 

(N 

656 

uo 

ON 

<N 

1368 

1672 

1435 

8699 

15,557 

Totals 

1,977 

13,580 

15,557 


Figure 5. Rank Distribution in the Framework and the Current 4 th Infantry Division. 95 



Particulars 

Officers 

Gen. 

Lt. Gen. 

Maj. Gen. 

Brig. Gen. 

Col. 

Lt. Col. 

Maj. 

Capt. 

23 

23 

-o 

c 

<N 

No. of officers 
in 2006 

Infantry Division 
and its support 
units 

0 

2 

16 

114 

336 

577 

1624 

1988 

2857 

2847 


Total 

10,361 

No. of officers 
in 2010 

Infantry Division 
and its support 
units 

l 

12 

74 

353 

897 

1299 

2106 

3889 

4676 

7690 


Total 

20, 997 


Figure 6. Comparing the Number of SPLA Officers in 2006 with that of 2010, after Data 

Extracted from the SPLA Total Parades of 2006 and 2010 96 


95 SPLA Directorate of Administration, The SPLA Total Parade for Salary, 2010; SPLA GHQs, 
Organizational Structure of the SPLA Infantry’ Division, 1-168; SPLA GHQs, Organizational Structure of 
the SPLA Support Units, 1-400. 

95 SPLA Directorate of Administration, The SPLA Total Parade for Salary, 2006; SPLA Directorate of 
Administration, 2010. 


27 


Thirdly, transformation also failed completely with regard to downsizing the force 
to an affordable size because as cited by 88 percent the SPLA interviewees, the SPLA 
leadership made deliberate decisions not to down size as it would have endangered the 
SPLA cohesion and would have cost the SPLA its already experienced and hardened 
fighters on whom the SPLA would rely on for any eventualities. In 2006, the 
Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) consortium, consisting of the 
Government of South Sudan and the United Nations (UN), originally called for 
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of 90,000 individuals. The DDR 
consortium later deemed this target figure as unrealistic and reduced it to 35,000, which 
they believed could be achieved mainly by decommissioning the war disabled and the 
aged. By 2010, fewer than 10,000 had been processed under the DDR scheme, and 
almost all of these were non-SPLA forces. 97 

In 2010 the SPLA’s registered total parade was 194,995. From the originally 
registered force size of 104,441, between 2006 and 2010 the force size grew by about 
90,554. These additional forces included 31,573 wounded veterans who were no longer 
on active duty; 31,000 of the additional force that came as a result of the integration of 
the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF) under the Juba Declaration; 98 and about 27,981 
of the additional forces that came about as a result of the subsequent integration of the 
forces of the other anned groups such as the Gelweng and Patriotic Revolutionary 
Army/Movement (PRA/M) of Dr. Alfred Ladu Gore 99 These various integration 
schemes indicate that force size actually increased dramatically, as did the proportion of 
the SPLA annual budget devoted to salaries (Figures 5 and 6). The proportion of the 


97 Rands, In Need of Review, 42-45. 

98 SPLA Directorate of Administration, The SPLA Total Parade for Salary>, 2006; Government of 
South Sudan Mission, “Juba Declaration on Unity and Integration between the Sudan People’s Liberation 
Army (SPLA) and the South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF),” January 8, 2006, 

http://www.gossmission.org/goss/images/agreements/iuba declaration on unity.pdf (Accessed January 20, 
2011); Gurtong Project, “Ex-SSDF integration complete says SPLA spokesperson,” JUBA, Sudan, June 9, 
Gurtong, http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctLArticleView/mid/519/articleId/1036/Ex- 

SSDF-integration-complete-savs-SPLA-spokesperson.aspx , (Accessed January 20, 2011). 

99 Ibid. 


28 






budget devoted to salaries hit a new high of 91.4 percent in 20 1 0. 100 This level of defense 
spending was clearly unsustainable, and at the same time far from adequate to sustain the 
SPLA at its prevailing size. The proportion of the SPLA budget allotted to salaries 
ballooned from 16 percent in 2006 to an average of 82 percent in 2007-2009, effectively 
gutting capital expenditures. 101 



Salary 

Salary % 

Operation cost 

Capital cost 

Total 

2006 

87,855,480 

16.7% 

77,394,520 

360,750,000 

526,000,000 

2007 

497,270,400 

90.4% 

25,577,800 

27,151,800 

550,000,000 

2008 

348,258,706 

70% 

99,502,488 

49,751,244 

497,512,438 

2009 

386,586,926 

87.2% 

41,716,082 

14,927,612 

443,230,6212 


Figure 7. Government of South Sudan Annual Approved Budget for the SPLA (U.S. $) 102 

Eighty eight percent of the officers and soldiers interviewed suggest that the 
SPLA refused to downsize after absorbing more men and women from the other anned 
groups. 103 The integration was politically and militarily important given the need to build 
a unified South Sudanese army, but respondents suggest that it also created fear within 
the SPLA that it would lose its original identity. The integration therefore sapped any will 
to demobilize. Ninety four percent of the military respondents suggest that the fact that 
the demobilization also generated fears that demobilization would create the appearance 
that SPLA soldiers had been replaced by those newly integrated, generating a tensions 
within the force. Eighty eight percent of military respondents and 79.6 percent of civilian 
respondents also cite lack of political will within the GoSS as a factor in the failure to 

100 Government of South Sudan, Budget at a Glance: Approved Budget of 2010, (Juba: GOSS, 
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, 1010), 10. 

101 Ibid. 

102 Government of South Sudan, Approved Budget of2006, 3; Government of South Sudan, Approved 
Budget of2007, 4; Government of South Sudan, Budget at a Glance: Government of South Sudan, 
Approved Budget of2008, 4; Government of South Sudan, Approved Budget of2009, 5. 

103 Government of South Sudan Mission, “Juba Declaration on Unity and Integration between the 
Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF), 2006; “Ex-SSDF 
Integration Complete says SPLA Spokesperson,” 2006. 

29 




downsize. Respondents believe that like the SPLA, the GoSS was far more concerned 
about maximizing fighting capabilities in the event of renewed war with the North than 
anything else. 104 



Figure 8. Distribution of SPLA 2010 Budget after Data Collected from the Budget at a 

Glance: Approved Budget of 2010 105 


104 John Ashworth, The State of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (Utrecht: IKV Pax Christi, 
2009), 5. 

105 Government of South Sudan, Budget at a Glance: Approved Budget of 2010, 10. 


30 





Figure 9. SPLA Salary in Relation to Operating and Capital Expenditures after Data Collected 

from the Approved Budget of 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 106 


C. TRAINING 

The transformation programs for training launched in 2006 aimed at improving 
discipline of the forces, improving the overall training institution and system, increasing 
the capacities of the training personnel and above all increasing combat readiness and 
effectiveness. The transformation program has had varying effects on training. The 
transformation efforts made more progress in creating training activities that increased 
combat readiness and effectiveness than in the other areas of improved discipline and 
improved overall training institutions and system. This variation in the effects of 
transformation on training confirms the overall initial intent of the SPLA which has very 
much been inclined towards increasing operational effectiveness of the SPLA which is 
critical to its priority, hence making other training areas of less priority, and secondarily 
because they were not a donor priority either. 


106 Government of South Sudan, Approved Budget of2006, 3; Government of South Sudan, Approved 
Budget of2007, 4; Government of South Sudan, Budget at a Glance: Government of South Sudan, 
Approved Budget of2008, 4; Government of South Sudan, Approved Budget of2009, 5 


31 




A small percentage of SPLA respondents (about 30 percent) cited lack of 
resources as the main obstacle to the transfonnation efforts to improve the other training 
components which would have enhanced discipline and professionalism. The same 
percentage of respondents also cited illiteracy as another major hindrance because of the 
fact that although, a Directorate of Education established within General Headquarters in 
2008 was to oversee a literacy program, in 2010 illiteracy remained unchanged at 90 
percent among soldiers and 70 percent among officers. This implies that the level of 
literacy is detenninant of the level of internalization of training inputs by trainees and 
therefore increasing training effects on trainees. These rationales cited by the small 
percentage of SPLA respondents are valid to some extent but on the whole the biggest 
percentage of SPLA respondents cited a rationale that validates the claim by the initial 
hypothesis. 

Research reveals that much of the effort for the transformation of the training 
system was directed towards combat effectiveness. These findings imply that the 
transfonnation process focused on training that aimed at producing resilient and agile 
fighters but not necessarily producing disciplined and professional soldiers. Seventy-six 
percent of the SPLA officers and soldiers interviewed confirmed this claim by citing that 
the main reason for the SPLA to take the path of focusing the transformation of the 
training system to ensure combat effectiveness as a priority is because there was a 
minimum and lack of practical and consistent guidance from the civilian leadership for 
the SPLA during the transformation process. This implies that practical guidance and 
checks from the civilian leadership which would have kept the SPLA from over focusing 
on transforming the training system for combat readiness at the expense of other equally 
vital components of training such as training for discipline, capacities of training 
institutions and systems were absent. 

Evidence revealed by the research supports the rationale of the interviewees 
which asserts that the lack of progress on transforming some of the components of 
training is directly attributable to the SPLA not seeing them as critical to its priority of 
increasing combat readiness and effectiveness. Much of this evidence is based on the 
practical transformation activities related to training of the SPLA. Lor example, the SPLA 

32 



screening of its force for verification purposes in 2006 included basic retraining which 
almost all soldiers and officers had received. About 90 percent of Generals (Brig, and 
above) had attended courses in Staff and Command Skills. Almost all the Colonels and 
Lieutenant Colonels had completed training in the School of Infantry in Malou. Most of 
the Majors and Lieutenants completed retraining in Nacigak Junior Officers Military 
Academy in Owingykibul. About 500 NCOs and officers had also completed training 
outside of South Sudan in various National Defense Colleges, Senior and Junior 
Command and Staff Colleges. Other SPLA officers and soldiers completed training in 
specialized areas such as handling the 130mm field gun, artillery operations, anti-aircraft 
23m, missile/IGLLA, armor and anti-tank weapons. Each of the 10 Divisions also 
successfully completed retraining following their reorganization. 107 All in all, these 
training activities were very much directed towards combat readiness, with minimum 
time spent on discipline and on transforming the long developed guerrilla ethos. 

Further evidence is revealed by the 65 percent of SPLA respondents and 93.5 
percent of civilian respondents who cited that because most of the transfonnation 
activities were tailored towards combat readiness at the expense of other training 
components, the levels of discipline and orderliness within the SPLA did not improve to 
a large extent as originally intended by the transformation objectives. 90.3 percent of 
civilian respondents still see SPLA soldiers and officers as the main source of insecurity 
among civilians, which they attribute to inadequate training. The 65 percent of military 
respondents who saw no improvement suggest that if there have been some aspects of 
progress, they are likely a result of military policing rather than increased discipline 
which is brought about by the effects of transfonnation. The same 65 percent of SPLA 
respondents note that only officers’ training includes human rights elements, 
International Humanitarian Laws (IHL) and SPLA Acts, giving them some grounding on 
discipline issues, human rights issues and civil-military relations, but that has not reached 
down to the soldiers. The 65 percent respondents therefore concluded that the lack 


107 Department of Military Research and Planning, Consolidated Report of the Training and Research 
Branch from 2005-2008, 16-28. 


33 



of effects by the transformation efforts in the area of discipline was mainly because the 
SPLA did not see it as critical to its initial list of priority which is increasing combat 
effectiveness. 

At the same time, despite the roles played by various donors in the transformation 

of the SPLA, the support system towards training was very much limited to policy 

development. This was mainly because none of the components of training (improving 

the training institutions and system, improving discipline through training, improving 

combat readiness) fell within donors’ priority of developing policies and capacities at the 

strategic level. According to a senior SPLA officer: 

Even the support from the donors has not been helpful in our training system 
because their inputs have not been adequately translated on the ground. It seems 
like the donors have misled our headquarters that everything must be limited to 
the Headquarters in terms of designing nice looking papers. We all have to go to 
the ground to change the discipline of our soldiers. 108 

Besides, 76 percent of the SPLA officers and soldiers interviewed also confirmed 
that the failures to effect progress by donors in the areas of training was also because of 
the huge cost normally involved with training activities and the long term commitments 
required to provide such a support system. This rationale by the respondents is 
synonymous with the assertion that donors often go for quick fix programs which yield 
quick outputs than long terms outcomes. 

On the whole, as a result of the SPLA’s and donor priority lists for transformation 
within the context of training, by 2010 the SPLA still did not have a functional 
professional military education system. Seventy-one percent of officers and soldiers 
interviewed said that despite the establishment of the NCO school, Nacigak Junior 
Officers Military Academy, and School of Infantry training is not systematic in terms of 
determining the next career move in rank and leadership. According to a General from 
GHQ: 

There is no Professional Military Education system within the SPLA based on an 
internationally recognized standard. The intended efforts put by the training 
institutions of the SPLA for the last six years should have aimed at clearing the 
mess that had piled up and reorganize the SPLA soldiers and officers into the 

108 SPLA Brigadier General stated in the survey questionnaire, October 16, 2010. 


34 



mainstream. This was not the case to a large extent. If a typical Professional 
Military Education system was exercised, then one would even find senior 
Colonels attending cadet courses in order to cover the gaps. I think it will only be 
after the referendum in 2011 that the SPLA will start to restructure its training 
systems and also become strict about the stages of military education that prepares 
officers for command. 109 

This statement implies that overall the transformation process did not remodel the 
training system from one which previously focused solely on producing resilient and 
agile fighters to one that also produced disciplined and professional soldiers. This is 
mainly because the SPLA has been more interested in building combat readiness hence 
making other training areas of less priority. 

At the same time, the slight semblance of some progress in transforming the 
training system was simply limited to developing physical training infrastructure (such as 
the Non Commissioned Officers’ (NCO) school in Mapel and the School of Infantry in 
Malou), training of military instructors in the development of training methodology, 
training programs, training syllabus, systems approaches to training, weapons training, 
NCO training, basic officers training and command and staff training, and the 
development of a series of Training Aide Memoires and a syllabus. 110 In a way, these 
activities were very much viewed by the SPLA as supportive of its initial priority of 
improving combat readiness, which was why the SPLA pursued it. However, multiple 
gaps still remain as further revealed by the respondents. Eighty-eight percent of the 
military respondents and all 13 of the foreign contractors working directly or indirectly in 
the transformation reveal that the transfonnation efforts did not improve the institutions 
of training. In 2010 the SPLA still lacked a functional training management cycle system 
that provides a framework for developing a Mission Essential Task List (METL), 
establishing training priorities and allocation of resources, planning, execution and 
assessing the state of training which subsequently gave a feedback to the overall training 
system in 2010. 


109 SPLA Lieutenant General reveals in the survey questionnaire, November 23, 2010. 

110 Rands, In Need of Review, 30-31. 


35 



D. CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS 

By 2010, the effects of the transformation process on civil-military relations 
varied with some areas showing some progress while others showing lack of progress. 
All in all, the transfonnation process has made some progress on institutionalizing civil- 
military relations at strategic level, but showed limited progress at the lower level 
because of the failures by both donors and the SPLA to translate policies to practices. 

Eighty-four percent of military respondents and 97.5 percent of civilian 
respondents reveal that the transfonnation process has only had effects on the SPLA at 
the strategic level, and they cited the willingness of the donors to limit their efforts at the 
strategic level and the SPLA’s reluctance to facilitate the translation of the transformation 
effects down to the operational and tactical levels as the main reasons. For the supporting 
donors, civil-military relations was the priority areas and every other intervention by 
them in the areas of training and force structure development was tailored in support of 
building capacities at the GHQs levels and the Ministry of SPLA Affairs in order to 
enhance civil-military relations. The confirmation by the respondents agrees with the 
initial objectives and strategies set in the DFID’s conceptual framework. 

Of note, 84.6 percent of the donor representatives interviewed reveal that limiting 
transformation by the supporting donors at the strategic level through policy development 
was considered a critical priority and viable because they consider the strategy of top- 
bottom approach as urgently required at the time. One of the main reasons cited by the 
respondents is that there is a need for an urgent development of capacity at the strategic 
level in order to set a strategic vision and provide a strategic guidance which all 
subsequent plans would be anchored on and the other lower levels of defense activities 
would follow. 

There have been other reasons that also provided favorable conditions for the 
relative progress at the strategic level as opposed to comprehensive progress which cover 
both the strategic and operational levels. First is that although there has been a divergence 
in priorities between the SPLA and the supporting donors in terms of transformation 
priorities and in terms of what levels the transformation activities should be limited at, 


36 




76.9 percent of the donor respondents reveal that the SPLA on its part cooperated 
(perhaps as a matter of good will) with the donors in as far as the donor transformation 
activities at the strategic levels were concern. The combination of the donors’ will to 
support transformation at the strategic level and the SPLA’s good will to cooperate 
produced some successful strategic defense products and thus explains the progress in the 
transfonnation of civil-military relations at the strategic level. 

Secondly, as the transformation process was launched in 2006, there was a 
concurrent establishment of the civilian oversight institutions as per the provisions of the 
CPA and the interim constitution of Southern Sudan. The Parliamentary Committee on 
Defense and Security was the first civilian oversight institution to be established in the 
late part of 2005, followed by the Ministry of SPLA Affairs in 2007. This implies that the 
necessary conditions for accommodating civil-military relations have been available. 
Thirdly, 84.6 percent reveal that the donors’ choices to limit their support system at the 
strategic level was also guided by the assumptions that the SPLA would translate the 
outputs of the donor support system to the lower levels of commands through the SPLA’s 
command chains and structures. 

The nature of transformation activities undertaken by the donors provides ample 
evidence in support of the relative progress at the strategic levels. First of all, the US $ 
9.6 million allocated by the UK government for the transformation of the SPLA between 
2006 and 20011 focused on areas at the strategic level. 111 All the advisors contracted 
under the UK support system for the transfonnation are stationed at the SPLA GHQs. 112 
Much of the evidence shows that it was only in 2009 that the donors began to support the 
dissemination of the products of transformation to the lower levels of defense. 113 

Secondly, the South Sudan Security Strategy, which provided a framework for the 
coordinated application of the instruments of power to achieve security objectives of 


111 Department for Foreign and International Development, Project Memorandum, 4-14. 

112 Rands, In Need of Review, 36. 

113 Directorate of Military Research and Transformation, Workshop Report on SPLA Transformation 
Process (Juba: SPLA GHQs, 2009), 22-23. 


37 



South Sudan, was adopted in February 2009. 114 The SPLA Act and the SPLA White 
Paper on Defense, adopted and approved, respectively, in 2008 provided the framework 
for the Ministry of SPLA Affairs to produce defense guidance every two years with clear 
“planning priorities for resource allocation against an agreed time-frame.” 115 The 
preceding framework entailed provisions for optimal use of resources in pursuit of 
specific defense objectives, definition of the required defense posture, definition of the 
roles and tasks of the SPLA and definition of the extent of spending. 116 These 
interlinked defense decision-making and planning processes set clearly the strategic 
vision from which the Ministry of SPLA Affairs derives its defense objectives and 
concepts. Thus, a defense decision-making process involving both civilians and the 
military was in place by 2010 and this progress can be attributed to the donor support 
system and the good will of the SPLA. 

Thirdly, the increased practice of involving civilian and military leaders in 
governing defense affairs marked a significant departure from the past, when defense 
matters were considered to be the exclusive domain of the military. By 2010 defense 
plans were developed in accordance with strategic vision and guidance authorized and 
approved by civilian authorities within the government of South Sudan, as illustrated by 
the approval of the annual defense plans and budget through the Ministry of SPLA 
Affairs. 117 These institutional and policy developments marked an important step towards 
setting up the frameworks for civil-military relations. 118 

As depicted by the illustration in Figure 10, a strategic thought process has been 
set in place which follows a civil-military relations model of deriving policies and plans 
on the strategic vision set by the civilian leadership. For example, the Ministry of SPLA 
Affairs began to use the set frameworks to convert plans into budget and to allocate 

114 Sudan Tribune, “South Sudan Security Strategy was adopted in February 2009 
http://www.sudantribune.com/South-Sudan-cabinet-passes.30238 (Accessed January 21, 2011). 

115 SPLA GHQs, SPLA Act, (Juba: Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 2008); SPLA GHQs, 
SPLA White Paper on Defense, 10-18. 

116 Ibid. 

117 From the authors personal experience as the Head of the Department of Planning and Research, in 
the Directorate of Military Research at SPLA GHQs, Juba between 2005 and 2009. 

118 Rands, In Need of Review, 39. 


38 




resources to activities that were approved on the basis of the acceptable procedures by 
2010. 119 The General Headquarters was equipped with the framework for determining 
the required capabilities, building the required readiness of the SPLA and deploying and 
commanding the SPLA in any operation that fell within the mission and roles of the 
SPLA as defined by the Constitution, the SPLA Act, and the White Paper on Defense. 120 
On the whole, the processes and procedures appear to show some relative success in 
contrast to the periods around 2006 and 2007 when the SPLA was not managed by 
principles set in a White Paper on Defense which provided general guidelines and 
frameworks within which strategies and plans were framed and activities could take 
place. 



Figure 10. The Strategic Thought Process after Extract from the Interim Constitution, and 

SPLA Policy and Strategic Documents 


119 Rands, In Need of Review, 25-26. 

120 SPLA GHQs, SPLA White paper on Defense, 16; Government of South Sudan, The Interim 
Constitution of Southern Sudan, 59-60. 


39 










Evidently, despite the transformation progress at the strategic levels, there has 
been a lack of progress made by the transformation process at the lower levels of the 
SPLA’s command. Both donor and SPLA respondents agree although there has been a 
significant cooperation between the donors and the SPLA, the limited progress at the 
lower levels is attributed to the failures to translate policies related to civil-military 
relations into its structures and plans of the SPLA. In addition, 82.2 percent of SPLA 
respondents attribute the lack of progress made by the transformation process at the lower 
levels of the SPLA command to the claims that there have been other priorities which the 
SPLA deemed urgent and which consumed most of the resources and time. One of these 
priorities was to development of the SPLA’s combat readiness as South Sudan was faced 
by multiple eminent threats. The SPLA’s transformation priorities therefore relegated the 
areas of enhancing civil-military relations at least at the operational and tactical levels to 
a secondary position on the list of transformation target areas. However, areas of civil- 
military relations in the context of enhancing civilian oversight institutions happened to 
be the most critical priority area for the donors which are supporting the transformation 
of the SPLA. 

The claims by both SPLA and donor respondents as to why there were differences 
in progress made by the transformation at the various levels and divergence in 
transformation priorities between the donors and the SPLA, clearly confirm the existence 
of a disjuncture between the strategic level and the operational and tactical levels. Eighty- 
four percent of SPLA respondents reveal that a disjuncture between strategic objectives 
and priorities and outputs limited the success of the transfonnation in enhancing civilian 
control of the SPLA. Basically, it was difficult to meet in practice some of the 
transformation objectives such as downsizing which were set in accordance with strategic 
objectives in the respective policies. The respondents attribute the disjuncture between 
policies and practice to the lack of reconciliation between the defense plans and the 
identified needs and available resources. The most apparent evidence is the fact that the 
SPLA perennially ran short of funds and requested supplementary budget allocations. 121 

121 Rands, In Need of Review, 23-25; Sudan Tribune, “Southern Sudan Legislators Approve 
Supplementary Military Spending,” Sudan Tribune, October 24, 2008: 

http://www.sudantribune.com/South-Sudan-legislators-approves,29031 (Accessed: 12/19/1010). 


40 




This shows that the success of the transformation process in laying down institutions and 
policies has not guaranteed translation of these policies into outputs that produce 
meaningful effects on SPLA civil-military relations. 

Moreover, 80.7 percent of the military respondents said that the reason why the 
disjuncture between policy and process continue to limit the enhancement of civil- 
military relations is because of the neglect by the transformation efforts to build the 
human capacities that would have utilized the civilian oversight institutions and processes 
developed. One respondent stated that: “institutions and processes do not run themselves. 
They have to be run by skilled and informed individuals, which in the case of the SPLA 
is lacking.” 122 

Similarly, 93.5 percent of civilians interviewed claim that the failure of the 
transfonnation process to enhance civil-military relations lies in the fact that it 
concentrated in setting up frameworks for institutions and developing policies but these 
efforts did not consider training the human resources that go with those institutions. 
Seventy nine percent of military respondents also attributed the shortfalls and overshot to 
planners and programmers within the Ministry of SPLA Affairs being bypassed in favor 
of ad hoc committees. SPLA documents confirm that programs often entered the 
budgeting phase from ad hoc committee without consultation with planners and 
programmers within the various Directorates, Divisions, Units and Corps, or the budget 
committee. 123 This leads to duplications in programming involving various Directorates 
and Units. For example, more often than not specialized units (Military Intelligence, 
Field Artillery, etc) organize for their own training without adequate consultations with 
the Directorate of Training, leading to duplication. 124 

The above analysis reveals that institutional and policy developments were 
relatively easy to achieve but that these new institutions and policies are not yet 


122 SPLA Lt. Col. stated in a survey questionnaire, December 3, 2010. 

123 SPLA Directorate of Finance, A Manual on Public Expenditure Management for the Ministry for 
SPLA Affairs (Juba: Ministry for SPLA Affairs, November, 2008), 3. 

124 Department of Military Research and Planning, A Consolidated Report of the Training and 
Research Branch from 2006-2008, 28. 


41 



enhancing control and accountability significantly. The capacities of defense institutions 
relevant to civil-military relations had been improved and relevant policy documents 
developed, but the processes and procedures within these institutions were not enough to 
significantly increase civilian control of the military or military accountability to the 
civilian government. By 2010, therefore, these institutional and policy developments and 
establishments of processes marked an important step towards setting up the frameworks 
for civil-military relations, but civilian oversight and military accountability still 
remained weak. This implies that there are still challenges that hinder the ability of the 
Ministry of SPLA Affairs and the SPLA GHQs to use the established frameworks to 
convert strategic policies into operational plans, budget and to allocate resources to 
activities that were approved on the basis of the acceptable procedures. 125 

On the whole, the over focus by the donors on transforming civil-military 
relations through policy development at the strategic levels, and the SPLA focus on 
enhancing its operational effectiveness and combat readiness, caused variations in the 
overall progress of the transformation process on the civil-military relations areas 
relevant to the SPLA. The SPLA did not utilize the transformation process to go beyond 
establishing institutions and developing policies. With the donors focused on institution 
and policy development, and the SPLA focused elsewhere, there was no urgency of 
deeper transformation in civil-military relations. 126 

E. OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS 

Operational effectiveness goals were largely met by 2010, according to 82.2 
percent of SPLA respondents and 95 percent of civilian respondents. They attribute this 
success to the high priority given to this goal by the SPLA. The armament inventory had 
increased significantly in quantity and quality. 127 Rapid responsiveness and lethality also 

125 Department of Military Research and Planning, A Consolidated Report, 25-26. 

126 Ibid. 

127 Adam O’Brien, Shots in the Dark: The 2008 South Sudan Civilian Disarmament Campaign 
(HSBA Sudan Working Paper No. 16, January 2009), 18; Enough Project, Peace on the Rocks: Sudan's 
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (Centre for American Progress, February 2009), 

http://www.enoughproiect.org/fdes/publications/sudan peace agreement revised O.pdf (Accessed January 
21 , 2011 ). 


42 




increased. 128 All civilian and military respondents agreed that the weaponry required for 
any eventuality had been acquired between 2007 and 2010. According to one civilian 
respondent: 

The SPLA’s major achievement with its transformation program is the 
level of annament that it has built. Armament is one area that the SPLA 
has lived up to the standard it had set for itself in the transformation 
program. May be it is because our future and security, including that of the 
military leaders rest on how much volume of fire the SPLA can spit. 129 

For the military and political leadership, transformation of the SPLA meant first 

and foremost building its capabilities in terms of lethality, mobility and sustainment, 

although this notion of transformation is not consistent with military transformation in 

classical terms and in terms of the notion of RMA. 130 This notion of transformation 

therefore implies that in actuality, the SPLA has never transformed but rather rearmed 

because the transformation process of the SPLA missed out on the doctrinal and 

organization elements. 131 The fact that the annual defense budget remained at 40 percent 

of government expenditures and the SPLA was given supplementary budget allocations 

when requested shows that its priorities were shared by the executive and legislative 

branches of the GoSS. 132 This also explains why there was no dissemination of the policy 

development framework beyond the strategic level. And it also explains the failure to 

downsize or cut salaries, since keeping the morale of the soldiers high is an important 

component of fighting power. A senior member of the Southern Sudan Legislative 

Assembly (SSLA) summarized the prioritization for capability development and 


128 Ukraine State Service for Export Control (DSECU), Information on the Volume of International 
Arms Transfers Realized by Ukraine in 2007 

(http://www.dsccu.gov.ua/control/uk/pub I ish/arti cl c?art_id _ 40683&cat_id _ 34940 accessed May 10, 2010); 
Ukraine State Service for Export Control, “ Submission to UN Register of Conventional Arms, 18 June 2008 
http://disarmament.un.org/UN REGISTER.NSF Accessed May 10, 2010; Ukraine State Service for Export 
Control, Report of the Freight/Cargo Manifest for MV Faina, 1 September 2008. 
http://disarmament.un.org/UN REGISTER.NSF Accessed May 10, 2010. 

129 A prominent member of South Sudan Legislative Assembly response in the survey questionnaire, 
November 16, 2010. 

1311 SPLA GHQs, SPLA White Paper on Defense, 13; Ralf Emmers, “Securitization,” in 
Contemporary’ Security Studies, ed. Alan Collins, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 137-151; 
From author’s personal observation as the Plead of the Department of Military Research and Planning in 
the Directorate of Training Branch. 

131 Sloan, Militaiy Transformation and Modern Warfare, 1-2. 

132 Sudan Tribune, “Southern Sudan Legislators Approve Supplementary Military Spending,” 2008. 

43 





operational effectiveness thus: “As the north continues to build its military capability, we 
shall also continue with the same in the south. We have therefore agreed in the Assembly 
that transformation must mean building the teeth first and the tail later.” 

F. CONCLUSION 

These research findings confirm the initial hypothesis that security concerns are 
determinant in military self-transformation, and the SPLA is not an exception. The 
research reveals that the SPLA transformation process has progressed furthest on the 
combat effectiveness goal. This trend in the transformation of the SPLA in turns inhibits 
any effective progress in transforming the SPLA’s civil-military relations, current force 
structure and training system. The SPLA’s primary transfonnation focus has therefore 
been to develop the required capabilities in the form of operational effectiveness in order 
to fend off any possible threats. This transformation focus basically relegated the other 
transfonnation targeted areas (force structure, training and civil-military relations) to 
secondary priorities. 

Additionally, there have been divergent but not necessarily conflicting priorities 
in the transformation program for the SPLA between the external donors and the SPLA. 
While the SPLA’s main priority is to focus on combat effectiveness, much of the focus of 
the donors has been on governance and management of the security system. The SPLA 
has managed to steer the transformation process to meet its lists of priority which is 
building operational and combat readiness. Although, donor support system in the 
transformation process which began in 2006 managed to establish a defense institutions 
and policies involving the SPLA, they are yet to be translated into viable defense 
products. The divergence has thus limited mutual assistance to permeate the efforts of 
transformation throughout the echelons of the SPLA, and hence affected the overall pace 
of transformation of the SPLA. Therefore, there are variations in the levels of progress of 
transformation of the SPLA. 


44 



IV. COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION 


A. COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS 

The objective of this research has been to assess the effects of the SPLA self¬ 
transformation process and the donor supported transformation initiative on the SPLA 
and to also establish why the effects turned out to be what they are. Measured against the 
four transformation areas described in the first chapter, the SPLA self-transformation and 
the donor supported transformation initiatives have had varying effects on the SPLA by 
2010. On the whole compared to 2005, the area of operational effectiveness experienced 
changes more than the areas of force structure, training and civil-military relations mainly 
because the SPLA self-transformation efforts which have been driven by security threats 
were more dominant than the donor supported transformation efforts which were SSR- 
driven. 


1. Force Structure 

Comparatively, by 2010 the SPLA force structure did not meet the transformation 
objectives. Although the SPLA managed to obtain a force structure framework in the 
form of three interdependent documents: organizational structure of the SPLA GHQs, 
organizational structure of the SPLA Infantry Division and organizational structure of the 
SPLA support units, the framework was not translated into practice. The force size thus 
has remained huge; force accountability has been inadequate and rank alignments with 
the specified force structure remains top heavy. Compared to 2005, the SPLA total 
parade has basically gone up by almost 87 percent as of 2010, hence causing a dramatic 
rise of the SPLA annual budget for salary by almost 74.7 percent. 

The SPLA did not consider reducing force size as critical to its priorities because 
doing so could endangered its ability to retain and increase combat effectiveness as 
human resource remained the most important military assert that it can bring to bear. 
Contrary to the SPLA’s transformation objective of realignment of the ranks in 
accordance with a defined force structure, as of 2010, most of the divisions had multiple 

45 



discrepancies with regards to ranks alignment. A classical example is the 4 th infantry 
division which by 2010 had excess ranks of about 14.2 percent. Therefore by 2010 no 
progress was made towards the transformation objective set in 2006 which aimed at right 
sizing and defining a force structure which is affordable. 

2. Training 

The SPLA training system by 2010 as a result of the transformation efforts, has 
witnessed a series of training products such the development of Training Aide Memoires 
and syllabuses, construction of new training facilities, and retraining of about 90 percent 
of officers and soldiers. These products, however, have not contributed to the overall 
changes of the SPLA’s soldiers as of 2010 in accordance with the transformation 
objective of professionalization of the SPLA. The various training that has been 
conducted has not contributed to changes in the guerrilla ethos and modus operandi 
within the SPLA. Cases of indiscipline and disorderliness among soldiers and officers 
still remain challenging. As of 2010, soldiers have been cited as one of the sources of 
insecurity, similar to the various citations in 2005 and 2006. The culture of 
professionalism within the SPLA has not been fostered. 

At the system level, the transformation efforts had no effect on training. The 
training system remained the same as in 2005. Although a series of training aid memoires 
were developed, by 2010 the SPLA still lacked a functional training management cycle 
system that provides a framework for developing Mission Essential Task List (METL), 
establishing training priorities and allocation of resources, planning, execution and 
assessing the state of training which would give feedback to the overall training system. 
A continuous and measureable training for readiness system was also not in place, 
therefore making it difficult to provide a logical framework against which the SPLA 
would monitor and evaluate its training. As of 2010, the SPLA still lacked a systematic 
professional military-education (PME). The effect of transfonnation therefore is not deep 
enough to warrant any proclamation of change in the training system. The intended 
effects of the transformation process through training therefore have not been achieved to 
a large extent. 


46 



All in all, by 2010, the SPLA training program continued to focus on combat 
readiness, with minimum time spent on discipline and on transforming the long 
developed guerrilla ethos. Compared to 2005, the transformation program through 
training has not contributed towards the attainment of professionalism as indicated by the 
following: First, Literacy which is an important ingredient for professionalism is still 
very low. Illiteracy level within the SPLA has not changed by 2010 as it remained at 90 
percent among soldiers and 70 percent among officers. Secondly, the guerrilla ethos has 
not changed much as indicated by the rampant indiscipline. Thirdly, by 2010 the SPLA 
still did not have a functional professional military education system, which enhanced 
officership. 


3. Civil-Military Relations 

Compared to 2005, civil-military relations involving the SPLA changed 
minimally by 2010 because the transformation process effected only a few changes in 
civil-military relations at the strategic level. Basically, as of 2010, the designing of the 
civil-military relations frameworks and policies marked a small but yet important 
departure from a state of civil-military relations which had no strategic policy framework 
in 2005 to one which became anchored on policy frameworks such as the South Sudan 
Security Strategy, SPLA White Paper on Defense, SPLA Acts and Rules and 
Regulations. By 2010 therefore, the SPLA had a framework which provided for a 
strategic thought process based on civil-military relations principles. 

The establishment of civil-military relations frameworks at the strategic levels at 
least put institutions and systems in place that provided opportunities for a civil-military 
relations exercise but the practice of civil-military relations still remains minimum with 
limited changes compared to 2005. For example, the “institutional control mechanisms” 
on the SPLA by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Parliamentary Committees on 
Security and Defense remained limited because capacities continue to remain low. 


47 



4. Operational Effectiveness 


Although it is difficult to measure operational effectiveness quantitatively because 
measuring it experientially is virtually impossible and it would involve actual combat, 133 
the SPLA operational capabilities as of 2010 have improved tremendously compared to 
2005. Compared to 2005 and the years before where the SPLA was under constant 
pressure to deploy forces into combat, by 2010 the SPLA has had ample time to obtain 
combat readiness training. Compared to 2005, the SPLA’s armament inventory has 
increased and improved by 2010 although numbers and costs have remained classified. 
New weapons ranging from infantry primary rifles to artillery pieces have replaced the 
old ones. The purchase of over 400 trucks, 1000 jeeps (land cruisers) and about 10 MI-17 
Helicopters has improved SPLA’s mobility and enhanced its capacity for rapid response 
and forward deployment. 

Compared to 2005, the SPLA soldier’s morale which is an important 
component of fighting power has also been boosted because of the 
payment of salaries to the soldiers, regular distribution of uniforms and 
availability of food ration and medical facilities. On the whole, the SPLA 
transformation process progressed furthest on the combat effectiveness 
goal. This improvement is attributed to the extensive political will and 
commitment to focus on these areas because of the looming threats of 
attacks. 

B. CONCLUSION 

Drawing on the hypothesis of this research, the overall findings reveals a lot about 
transformation process within the SPLA and transformation in general of an intact 
guerrilla armed force during a post-conflict situation. The overall findings therefore 
confirm significantly much of the research hypothesis. First, this research on SPLA 
transformation confirms that when security concerns are the main antecedent condition 
for military transformation, the primary aim of a military transformation is improved 
combat effectiveness so that it can “fight and win its nation’s war.” 134 This strategic 


133 Philip Hayward, “The Measurement of Combat Effectiveness,” JSTOR: Operations Research, Vol. 
16, No. 2, March-April 1968, 314. http://www.jstor.org/stable/168759 (Accessed November 23, 2010). 

134 West and Reimer, A Statement on the Posture of the United States Army Fiscal Year 1997, 
http://www.armv.mil/aps/97/chl.htm (Accessed August 30, 2010). 


48 





thought process has been confirmed by the findings of the research which reveal that the 
main area that has been guiding transformation decision making processes within the 
SPLA Headquarters has not been the policy stipulations on the strategic documents such 
as the White Paper on Defense which provides a transfonnation framework but rather the 
ever looming threats based on the estimation that the adversary in the north was likely to 
renege on the peace deal and attack the SPLA positions. Perceived threats have therefore 
provided a big push for the SPLA HQs to continuously focus on building operational 
effectiveness which entails building capabilities in terms of lethality, mobility and 
sustainment, as opposed to holistic defense transformation which entails transforming 
organization, process, personnel and technology. 

The preceding premise for transformation implies that the transformation 
approach undertaken by the SPLA was not consistent with the standard definition of the 
word “transformation” or even RMA which combines technology, organization, 
innovative process and personnel development. 135 The SPLA’s transfonnation process 
did not bring about new technological changes which contribute to drastic changes of old 
systems and processes. The transfonnation process did not cause changes in doctrine, 
tactics and procedures that determine how the SPLA’s force structure is organized, 
trained, and equipped. On the whole, the transformation process did not create new 
operational concepts. This notion of transfonnation therefore implies that in actual sense, 
the SPLA has never transformed but rather rearmed because the transfonnation process 
of the SPLA missed out on the doctrinal, technological and organization elements. The 
lesson brought forward by this research is that the SPLA did not transform but rather 
rearm. 

Secondly, there is a validation of the hypothesis that the application of SSR 
during post conflict on an intact military such as the SPLA with well-developed ethos 
does not yield immediate effect. Indeed the SSDDT transfonnation program which has 
been SSR-driven only manages to lay down frameworks and policies for civil-military 
relations at the strategic level, but these frameworks and policies have not be translated to 


135 SPLA GHQs, SPLA White Paper on Defense, 13; Emmers, Securitization, 137-151. 


49 



overall changes in the organization, process and personnel at the operational and tactical 
levels. The overall pace of SSR-driven transformation was thus affected by the fact that 
divergence between the SPLA priorities and donor priorities and continues to limit 
mutual assistance to permeate the efforts of transformation throughout the echelons of the 
SPLA because of the contending priorities between those of the SPLA and those of the 
donors. The process of military transformation and the intervention of security-sector 
reform in South Sudan have been faced with a unique situation, in which military 
stalemate led to a compromise that in turn left a guerrilla military with an autonomous 
status in the South while preparations were made for a referendum on secession. 136 This 
scenario in South Sudan has therefore hampered to a large extent both military 
transfonnation and security-sector reform efforts, as they are dealing with transforming a 
guerrilla military, with its own established and intact ethos. 

On the whole, the findings of this research from a wider perspective continue to 
dispute the claim by some of the western donors’ approaches to military transfonnation, 
which seems to imply that RMA is appropriate for Western militaries and SSR as 
appropriate for developing countries is limited to some extent. The overall findings imply 
that this differentiation that prescribes RMA for Western militaries and SSR for the 
militaries of developing countries tends to undennine the fact that the militaries of 
developing countries, just like other militaries, are equally driven by transformation 
objectives that seek to build their capacities to fulfill the traditional military roles 
(fighting and winning wars in defense of the nation’s interests) because of the ever 
perceived security threats. Thus, for as long as the western donors’ approaches to military 
transfonnation continue to go down the path of the mentioned differentiation, there will 
be to a large extent divergence and conflicting priorities in the transfonnation program 
between the external donors and the militaries being targeted for transformation. The 
military which is a target of transformation will have combat effectiveness as its main 
priority of transfonnation, while donors will focus on governance and management of the 
security system. 

136 IGAD Secretariat, The Security Arrangement Protocol: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement 
between the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army, 87. 


50 



C. RECOMMENDATIONS 

As a follow on from the conclusion that first the SPLA transfonnation effort was 
flawed because the SPLA simply rearmed itself rather than effecting changes in its 
organization, personnel and process; secondly, that the SPLA transformation process 
progressed furthest on the combat effectiveness goal because of perceived security threats 
therefore relegating the other transfonnation targeted areas (force structure, training and 
civil-military relations) to secondary priorities; thirdly, that the SSR-driven 
transfonnation program cannot be that effective in a post conflict situation that the SPLA 
is in, this research makes a series of recommendations: 

First and foremost the research recommends that the political and military 
leadership in South Sudan together with the supporting international partners develop 
through a transformation dialogue a consensus on a definition of transformation which is 
relevant and timely for the SPLA. Such a consensus must revolve around what the most 
critical elements of transformation for the SPLA entails. As a recommendation, perhaps 
some of the most critical elements worth considering as priorities for transformation 
could include a combination of force structure, ethos (mindset) and processes. In specific 
tenns these priority areas for transformation could include: changing the way the SPLA is 
organized, trained and equipped; changing the doctrine and procedures that determines 
how the SPLA is employed; changing the way the SPLA is led and how the SPLA future 
leaders are prepared. 

Secondly, in light of the need to transform and build combat effectiveness as 
designed by the SPLA’s transformation objectives, the SPLA must also maintain some of 
its past guerrilla characteristics, such as the ability to operate with meager resources but 
yet accomplish its mission; and the past ability to fight with guerrilla tactics. Clearly, 
Africa’s most fought wars since the first quarter of the twentieth century have been intra¬ 
state wars mainly involving state militaries against a complex mix of categories of non- 


51 



state opponents such as guerrillas and insurgents. 137 This type of warfare will continue to 
define the nature of military threats for many years to come in Africa and South Sudan 
will not be an exception. 

Thirdly, as the research conclusion reveals that much of the transformation 
interventions were limited to policy therefore strategic levels, there is evidence that there 
have not been functional mechanisms for translating the transfonnation plans into 
practical plans. The research therefore recommends that future transfonnation strategy 
must bear with it practical plans and programs which contain Objective Verifiable 
Indicators (OVIs), timeframe and strict responsibilities. 

Fourthly, there is an indication from the research findings that the SPLA’s 
transformation efforts have been bogged down with inherent resistance to change, just 
like with most militaries which are intact and have well developed ethos. In the case of 
the SPLA, undertaking any transfonnation efforts which can be embraced and supported 
across all levels of the SPLA’s echelon requires what one would refer to as a 
comprehensive and a thorough set of transformation preconditions which entail a break 
from the self-denial that the past modus operandi does not work in the current scenario. 
Such a break requires giving up all perceptions as a result of a developed positive self 
image with attributes that the SPLA has been the sole body that brought about the 
achievements as epitomized by the signing of the CPA, and that it was the main guarantor 
that deterred the government in Khartoum from reneging the CPA, therefore all about it 
is fine and there is no reason for changes. 

Indeed, given the fact that the SPLA has a well developed ethos and is still 
consisting of well entrenched resistance to change, transformation of the SPLA into a 
regular, professional, non-partisan modem army that is appropriate, adequate, 
accountable, affordable and operationally effective” will be hard to achieve. Assessing 
the SPLA transfonnation effects at this point in time may not reveal much as the time 
spent on transformation is not long enough for ultimate conclusion. As John Kotter states, 
“The most general lesson to be learned from the more successful cases is that the change 

137 Clapham, Introduction: Analyzing A frican Insurgencies, 1-2. 


52 



process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable 
lengthof time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces 
satisfactory results” and “making critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a 
devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains.” 


53 



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54 



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